Wednesday, December 31, 2008

pamasko and pasalubong and regalo! oh my...

just an fyi - i have a new post up at filipina moms titled, pamasko and pasalubong and regalo! oh my.... about gifts, regifts, balikbayan boxes and filipino charities.

first things first, happy new year! manigong bagong taon sa inyo! (thank your lucky stars you can't hear me butcher that pronunciation...)

personally, i'll be spending the start of our new year caring for the sick and contagious at home. they caught colds on our recent california holiday - probably on our southwest flight back to chicago. during the six + hours in transit, inbetween drawing on a doodle pad for one child and dressing/undressing dolls for another, i actually managed to read this article in sw's spirit magazine about regifting by kimberly garza.

in the article, she recalls early memories of her mother regifting into a balikbayan box, "I got my introduction to regifting on my sixth birthday, at the hands of a true master. I eagerly ripped into a present from a classmate only to reveal an exact replica of the Dream Bride Barbie I already had. I scowled, but my mother gently placed Dream Bride Barbie back in the box. “Your cousin Eunice would like this very much,” she said. Then she turned and placed Barbie in a large cardboard box labeled “For Manila.”

sound familiar? my mom STILL does this... as does my stepsister and all of the other matriarchs of my family. i don't actually have any boxes, i just contribute to theirs... :) in addition to new "unnecessary" things that we received as gifts, we would also put our gently used things in as well. i used to think my mother was telling a stale joke saying that one could tell who our relations were in iligan because they would be wearing my old handmedowns. and then, i visited and saw for my own eyes that she wasn't kidding.

at one point, i remember complaining to my mom saying, that a balikbayan box wasn't "enough" that we could/should be doing more by donating money to charities in the philippines. but she replied that she didn't trust any organizations in the philippines, she wouldn't be able to tell if her money would actually reach any one in need or just a corrupt few. her sentiment was seconded by the other aunties and uncles i knew of her generation. unfortunately, her concerns and my father's firsthand stories of institutionalized bribery, fraud and exploitation scared me away from filipino based charities as well.

it wasn't until i went back to manila for my sister's wedding that the idea of donating to a filipino charity crossed my mind again. every so often i saw a commercial for children's hour on tv, "a fund-raising and grant-giving organization that taps individuals, employees, and corporations to donate at least one hour of their earnings once a year to fund projects committed to promote the welfare of our Filipino children". although i didn't commit to anything, i started to research other charities when i got home and found these:

gawad kalinga- translated in English means to “to give care”, and it is an alternative solution to the blatant problem of poverty not just in the Philippines but in the world. GK’s vision for the Philippines is a slum-free, squatter-free nation through a simple strategy of providing land for the landless, homes for the homeless, food for the hungry and as a result providing dignity and peace for every Filipino.

cu foundation - a non-profit, non-religious, volunteer-based charitable foundation which provides financial and educational assistance through scholarship to under-privileged children in Ballesteros, Cagayan. The Foundation further delivers requested educational resources and equipment directly to public-based Day Care centers, schools, colleges and libraries in the Philippines.

pinoy kids-envisions a stable and viable community that will uphold the rights, welfare and aspiration of filipino families especially the children towards authentic human development.

teresa charities- provide life-sustaining rice monthly to the elderly poor in Vietnam and Philippines working through a network of churches. Three dollars buys a month's supply.

children's shelter of cebu-Orphaned children in the Philippines need more than just shelter...we provide food, medicine, education and a loving home through three residences and a school.

operation christmas child-enables caring individuals, families, schools, churches, businesses, and other organisations to fill ordinary shoe boxes with small toys, school supplies, sweets, and other gifts for needy children around the world.

haribon foundation- a membership organization dedicated to the conservation of Philippine biodiversity. It aims to build a constituency for environmental issues that will call for prioritizing conservation actions on habitats and sites, based on solid scientific and socio-economic research. We are the pioneer environmental organization in the Philippines.

pearl s. buck foundation- has three distinct functions that operate as one with the common mission of continuing the legacy and dreams of Pearl S. Buck - her commitment to improving the quality of life and expanding opportunities for children and promoting an understanding of the values and attributes of other cultures, the injustice of prejudice, and the need for humanitarianism throughout the world. coincidentally, of the black eyed peas was sponsored by the foundation as a child.

peapod foundation- this is the black eyed peas foundation. it supports innovative programs for children and focuses attention on universal needs including music/artistic education, shelter/housing and healthcare. some of the donations go directly to charities in the philippines.

wikipedia also has a long list of charities in the philippines here.

honestly, even after all that reading, i was still having trouble getting over my handmedown biases. finally early in december, i ended up donating two shoeboxes to operation christmas child - one for a girl the same age as the paloma and another for a boy the same age as the porkchop. although samaritan's purse sends boxes to the philippines, i couldn't specifically request where our boxes would go. in a way, i felt like operation christmas child was the best of both worlds - a box of gifts coupled with a charity that also served children in the philippines.

i am disappointed in myself for not doing more, for not taking a larger leap of faith. but, i took an itty bitty teensy weensy baby step which is better than nothing i guess... and tomorrow, i'll have a whole 365 more days to take a few more.
...and by all means, please feel free to continue my education on any filipino charities you support/read/hear about in the comments!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

happy 3rd *coughbelatedcough* birthday porkchop!

i'm stuck in christmas cards' newsletter writer's block limbo, so all i have to offer is the standard birthday meme to commemorate the porkchop's birthday which was on sunday, december 7th:

1) Go to Wikipedia
2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.
3) List three events that happened on your birthday
4) List two important birthdays and one death
5) One holiday or observance (if any)

i'm going to throw caution to the wind and name three of each since he turned three. it's a stretch i know.... :)


1941 - World War II: Attack on Pearl Harbor - The Imperial Japanese Navy attacks the US Pacific Fleet and its defending Army Air Forces and Marine air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (coz no one ever gets it when i say, "a day that will live in infamy!")
1972 - Apollo 17, the last apollo moon mission is launched. (some people were born this year.)
2005 - Rigoberto Alpizar, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 924 who allegedly claimed to have a bomb, is shot and killed by a team of U.S. federal air marshals at Miami International Airport. (no idea this happened. i was under the influence of an epidural.)

birthdays: (define "important")

1910 - Louis Prima, American musician (d. 1978)
1949 - Tom Waits, American singer, composer, and actor
1966 - C. Thomas Howell, American actor

deaths: (this was all a stream of consciousness... de lesseps = realhousewives of nyc, graves = high school angst, scoggins = familiar childhood tv)

1894 - Ferdinand de Lesseps, French diplomat and entrepreneur (Suez Canal) (b. 1805)
1985 - Robert Graves, British author (b. 1895)
2004 - Jerry Scoggins, American singer (b. 1913)

holidays: (besides pearl harbor day)

Colombia - Día de las Velitas (Day of the Candles)
India - The Armed Forces Flag Day
International Civil Aviation Day

i woulda posted the links, but it's snack time and they're going to kill me if i don't get their veggie booty stat.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

on drawing pumpkins and circles....

i'm going to pretend that i haven't blogged since june... i suggest you join me... i MAY even explain later...

(like anyone is actually reading this...)

so, the paloma came home a few days ago with this drawing that she did in school. it's amazing to see how far she's come with drawing and coloring. she's actually following directions and using the "correct" colors for things like purple for grapes, red for apples, yellow for bananas, etc... although, when it's just the two of us, she's still coloring things all willy nilly - making them striped or polka dotted...

it was the pumpkin in the middle that reminded me of something that happened to me in grade school.

i don't remember how old i was but i had a teacher who had given us a similar project. my teacher was pretty gifted artistically. she made a cornucopia out of brown construction paper and tacked it to a large corkboard in our classroom. then, she gave each of us a fruit to make as an assignment. it was really just busy work, since i was given a precut, blank, pumpkin cut-out to trace, cut out and color in. all i had to do was trace onto orange construction paper, draw in the ribs of the pumpkin and color the stem... no tendrils, no vines, no seeds, no blossom end - just give the blank, pumpkin cut-out a little more depth.

well, my pumpkin looked pretty much like the paloma's above. i'd drawn the lines straight up and down NOT like the printed pumpkin underneath where the lines are convex and attach to the stem. admittedly, i was rushing because it was the end of the day and i wanted to get home, but i thought my pumpkin was fine.

my teacher did not. in fact, she was so disappointed, she refused to put my pumpkin up and told me that i had to sit in my seat until i made a pumpkin properly. well, it must have been eight or so rejected pumpkins later that she finally let me go home... after the janitor had cleaned our room... after everyone had finally grown tired of the monkey bars and the merry go round... i walked home absolutely weary and defeated by a stupid pumpkin drawing battle.

weeks earlier, the same teacher had me stay after school because i didn't color in one direction and within the lines. the janitor came and went that day too, as did my classmates' afterschool playtime.

i doubt my teacher called my home to tell my mom about keeping me afterschool. i'm not sure i ever told my mom. i was a latchkey kid and was usually home before she got off work. and i don't think my grandmother lived with us yet. you'd think i'd be over this, but in reality, i'm not.

a little while back, out of some inexplicable frustration, the thin man was trying to get the paloma to color in the lines. and i responded with a knee jerk reaction to defend her and her milestones... i was little emotional about it and i realized i was transported back to that empty classroom and that empty feeling. i didn't want her to feel that. eventually yes. but not yet. not now when she's 5.

the thing is this... (and this is where i clue you into my blogging disappearance) at the beginning of june, we met with the paloma's preschool teacher who out of the blue gave us a laundry list of things that she'd been doing that year. things that she thought were age inappropriate. she didn't say that she thought that the paloma needed to be evaluated. but the laundry list looked like a behavioral checklist for an evaluation of a child with learning disabilities. and then, she told us that the paloma cried at least ONCE a day, EVERY day that school year.

and this meeting, at the END of the school year, was the first time we were hearing about it. even though, we'd met with her at the middle of the year and i walked the paloma to school everyday. we were never told that she had cried for a whole year.

i was devastated. i felt like i was the worst mom on the planet. what kind of mom doesn't know that her child is crying in school every day?! what kind of teacher doesn't tell a student's parent that she's crying in school every day?! so, after i cried and criticized and stewed over it, i finally got my act together. i called a behavioral therapist to talk about the paloma and set up an appointment for the paloma to be evaluated by the city of chicago for any learning disabilites...

when we got to the testing site at the local library, i was shocked at how many people were already waiting and how tough it must be for parents of children with learning disorders. for the most part, the paloma (who is very active and talkative and bored easily) was very well behaved and patient. the other parents had children with obvious behavior issues and i really sympathized/empathized with them - especially for the parents of two or more. i was lucky that a generous friend of mine came with her child and read with the porkchop in the kids room while we waited and finally got tested. most of the parents had all their children together. that waiting room was another level of hell for some, i'm sure...

anyway, the paloma flew thru the testing with flying colors. the evaluator saw nothing out of the ordinary and said, "your daughter is not exhibiting anything that i can see. you've been here a few hours right? you've seen these children? she is not like them. maybe she's just not a montessori kid. maybe she's bored. my advice is take her out of that environment, enroll her in your local public school and see how it goes. public school is much more structured and if she does exhibit any issues they can catch it there."

so, i visited the local school and talked to the counselor there who reassured me the evaluator was correct that if there were any issues, they would see them and they would take care of her.

when the school year started, i met with the paloma's new teacher. a neighbor told me that she specialized in special education and was a favorite teacher for all of her kids who are older and "normal". i gave the paloma's new teacher the laundry list that her former teacher had given us. after she read it over, she called to tell me that everything the former teacher had noted/pointed out were behaviors she considered age appropriate. she reassured me that she'd keep an eye on the paloma but that she didn't think that we should worry.

well, it's been more than a few months now, and i finally feel like i can take a breath. at our first report card pick up, the paloma's teacher only had good things to report, she's doing well academically and has a few things to work out behaviorally, but nothing outside the norm... and before i left, she said, "if you haven't done it already. i want you to tear up that letter. it can only do you and the paloma harm. don't worry, she's fine." at home, the paloma's tantrums are fewer and infrequent. she's becoming more and more of a little grown up to which i almost always respond, "you don't have to grow up so fast. there's no race to win here."

so today, the paloma is drawing inside the lines but not drawing an anatomically correct pumpkin... we're aware of it and no one is keeping her afterschool because of it. and best of all, no more secret tears.

last but not least, i realized while i was away that blogging and the bloggers who i have met online and IRL mean more to me than i thought. in real life, when things start to go downhill, i respond by staying home, being quiet and internalizing stuff, dealing with issues by myself when i can... mostly because i don't want to be my friends' depressed and depressing friend.... i hate to be a lead ballon. so, when i stopped blogging, i realized it was because i didn't want to be a lead balloon online either... so, i think i've diagnosed myself as a fairweather blogger. i'll blog about drive-ins and cat barf and john lennon and parenting and being brown in a white world, but don't expect me to blog about depressing stuff when i'm depressed. 'cause i just can't do that to you. and i won't.

Friday, June 13, 2008


a very good friend of mine, george gee, and his band, the jump, jivin' wailers, will be in town playing three events.... YOU HAVE TO COME OUT AND SEE THEM!!! at least once... pleeeeeeeeeeeeease?

saturday, june 14th
chicago summer dance
spirit of music garden @ grant park
601 s michigan ave
6-7 dance lessons w/ margot and riley
7:30-9:30 george gee

sunday, june 15th
beer garden at navy pier @ 1 p.m.

willowbrook ballroom
8900 archer ave, willow springs, il @ 8 p.m.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

and now for something completely different....


WARNING: the geeky 80s fangirl i used to be has arisen from the ancient ashes of my youth... LIKE A PHOENIX... so get out while you can before you're covered in hormones and braces and little debbies...

i don't even know where to start....

i mean do i start with the day i met him twenty years ago? when i was 16 in 1988... the whole cast of 21 jump street was doing a meet and greet in the pedway near marshall fields and a zillion fans queued up for hours, zig zagging underground, only to find that we couldn't take pictures or really talk to them... just shuffle by, wave and pick up a pre-signed 8x10 glossy on our way out....

or did this really start on my birthday? when the thin man and i auditioned as dance extras for his new film public enemies... i didn't get called back as an extra, but the thin man did. he's in a few scenes at union station and in a handful of scenes at the aragon ballroom. so, if he doesn't end up on the cutting room floor, you'll see him crossing johnny depp's path a few times, on the big screen, next year!

or maybe this all started when i saw his haunting performance in sweeney todd... it was that performance that nudged me to look for that forgotten 8x10 glossy in an old wooden trunk and i actually found it and my chandler's from '89 (my senior year). inside, on the one year anniversary of the day we met i wrote down "me & jd - one year ago today" with heart doodles and a cut out pic of him from teen beat or something.... (along with obligatory concert stickers from killing joke and nitzer ebb - in an effort to keep my "alternative" card).

something about that performance really jolted me into remembering that i too am a creative person. that i was a creative person before i was a parent and that like him, if i just kept at it, could continue to be a creative person and STILL be a parent... it was an epiphany that i'd had before, but his performance was really luminous and i had this strange urge to thank him for such great entertainment and for the epiphany... so, i wanted to offer him my best in gratitude for offering his best. i found a postcard of an illustration i had done, i made a lovely dress for his daughter lily and i wrote him a thank you letter on the back of a photocopy i'd made of the old 8x10 glossy. if i could have found an extra copy of the two poetry magazines i was published in i would have included those too...

( the dress on the far left is the one i made for lily depp... the one on the right is the paloma's)

i don't know why i feel i have to disclose this... but, honestly, i'm one of those fairweather fans of his... i haven't seen every film or interview... i don't plan on it. i don't know why i was so determined... so driven to finish what i started... all i really ever wanted was to get this little thank you package to him. i really didn't want/set out to meet him. i was really hoping that the thin man would find a way to get it to him. but, after three full days of shooting, the thin man came home defeated and the task fell to me... i dunno... suffice to say, something was in the works...

we found out that the cast and crew would be filming in front of frontera grill on june 9th - johnny depp's birthday - but not when. so i took a stab at it and figured on making it there around 11 am. a girlfriend of mine immediately agreed to look after the paloma and the porkchop as long as she had to so that i could get my little care pkg to him. i looked at the weather report and it was predicting rain from 12-5. i dressed apprpriately and took along a really good book, my wallet, keys, my camera and an umbrella and headed off.

i think i must have said a trillion hail marys from the time i left the house until the time i arrived... honestly, i didn't stop praying... (and apologizing... admitting guilt for everything... lapsed catholic that i am...)

i got there as planned and extras and crew were already hard at work blocking shots. i overheard a crew member tell some other random onlooker that johnny was not on set and that they had started working at 6 am. so, we were watching their doubles. and ten minutes or so later, a black suv rolled into the set and out stepped marion cotillard. another five mintues later, a second black suv rolled into the set and there he was... ok, he was half a block away, but i could see that johnny depp had arrived on set. i looked up at the sky which did look threatening... and continued to pray in my head...

it was around this time when they asked us to move from the corner we were on to the corner across the street. then, one of the many vintage cars started to back up towards us... and i spied marion cotillard in the passenger side (the side closest to me) and realized that johnny was in the drivers seat (the OTHER street corner)! as soon as the take was done, i ran over to the other corner and he was literally 50 ft away from me for maybe ten takes.... at one point, i along with other rabid fangirls (they were like 16 years old, mind you) started to yell "happy birthday, johnny!" before the take and he looked at us and smiled and waved... and i just about lactated... he was THAT dreeeeeeeeeeeeamy.... :)

(shaky fan + no flash allowed + long shutter delay = blurry photo)

ok, so HOURS later... around 2 pm, i had lunch with the thin man who also couldn't resist the magic yumminess that is johnny depp... around 3:30 or so, the clouds finally cracked and it began to rain buckets. my heart sank. i shared my umbrella with a young woman named lucy and her little 6 yo, lily. lucy's mom, della, was also there with lucy's 2 yo, jack. mind you, johnny depp has two children named lily and jack as well... and no, she did not name them to mimic johnny.... cosmic co-inky-dink, no?

we all hit it off quite famously, bonding in our common mom of twohood, fangirl geekiness, chicagoness and cat loverness.... half an hour or so later, the rain stopped for the whole day.... :) THANK YOU, JESUS (BUDDHA, YAHWEH, ALLAH, ELVIS)!

finally around 8pm or so, the final shot of the day was wrapping up. earlier, lucy had actually driven the kids home, and gotten her good camera but she wasn't back yet. before she left she told me that she had found the trailers behind her office in a parking lot. she told me the exact corner where they were and i told her mom that i would meet them there. i ran over there as soon as the last take was done.

lucy met me at the trailer and ten minutes later or so, johnny's suv drove into the parking lot. he rolled down his window and said hi and waved. and i frantically waved my pkg at him yelling "IHAVEAPRESENTFORYOU!IHAVEAPRESENTFORYOU!"

YES. i am THAT freakishly uncool.

he nods and gives me the international "gimmeaminute" sign - index finger up, other fingers folded.... then, the suv parks and he gets out and again i jump around yelling "IHAVEAPRESENTFORYOU!IHAVEAPRESENTFORYOU!"...

omg. SOMEONE put me out of my misery... and again, he nods and gives me the international "gimmeaminute" sign.

after he walks into his trailer, his "right arm", otherwise known as "jerry" comes out and says, "johnny's too tired today. he won't be coming out." to which i promptly responded, "THAT'SOK.CANYOUGIVEHIMMYPRESENT?" and he looks at me like i'm a total raving idiot/lunatic and says calmly, "yes. of course, i can give it to him." in the tone of, "don't you KNOW who i am lowly fangirl?" i should have having read this great recap of another fangirl meet and greet with johnny.

so, he takes my pkg and i watch him get into johnny's trailer with it and leave without it. THE EAGLE HAD LANDED...

lucy and della (who ran to meet us) and i kinda look at each other and are not sure what to do... but i told them about what i'd read and how this was very similar to what happened to the girl at the other meet and greet and we decide to stick around...

another fangirl came up to me and sadly said that she had to go home. she asked if i could give johnny a gift that she had made - a mix cd and a letter. i told her i'd do my best... i was still racing the clock - i had to make a 9:45pm train. i gave it to a really friendly security guard who gave it to a crew member who came to me and told me he gave it to johnny. so, anonymous fangirl, johnny has your gift. :)

lucy then, generously offers to drive me home too so i don't have to hurry to catch the train home.... turns out she lives in a south suburb and my neighborhood is on her way home. is this NOT the day of miracles or what? THANK YOU UNIVERSE!

another hour later, strangely enough, jerry comes back out and kinda scopes us out for a bit and then goes back into the trailer. at this point, there's about 20 of us or so... and then, minutes later, in a very bawdy and loud (british accented?) voice, jerry says, "ok! everybody get in line! against the fence! johnny will only sign one thing per person! no flash photography! if he signs more then one thing or a flash goes off, we're turning around and leaving!"

luckily, della, lucy and i were already leaning on the fence, 'cause then, everyone starts to jockey for positions inbetween us. we somehow managed to squeeze everyone else around us so that we could stick together.... and then, he came out of his trailer and started to walk towards us...

(again no flash + long shutter delay + shaky fan = blurry photo)

i tore an end paper out of my book (sorry stephanie!) and handed it and the book to della who ripped the page in half and gave it to me... della was second or third in line. johnny greeted her warmly and genuinely and signed her little sheet. then lucy, who was also greeted well and he shook her hands, which she said was all she really wanted and then, finally, he got to me.

my brain was mush after standing for 10+ hours waiting for him. i couldn't think, couldn't breathe, i wondered if my breath stank... if i stank... then, he said "hi" and shook my hand with both of his hands. and i said "i made the dress for your daughter". and he said "what?" and i say "i made a dress for you... the dress for your daughter, did you get it?" and he quickly recovers and says "yes, the dress! yes, it's in my trailer. thank you. that was really sweet." he signs my little scrap of paper and says "thanks" again. and as i watch him go by, he actually turns to me again and takes a pause and says something like, "it was really sweet, God bless you." and i realize then, that he may have actually read my letter too and maybe then, he felt as i did that we had found commonality in parenthood and creativity or something.... i dunno...

and then, after meeting and greeting the rest of the crowd with a wave and a smile he got into the suv and was gone. lucy, della and i were stunned. lucy actually got the whole thing on video and if i can figure out how to open an .IFO file i'll post it...

i've so many other important and parentish topics to post about but, i just wanted to finish this... i finally said what i had to say to johnny depp. and i wanted to share that with you. i wanted to let you know that although i feel like a failure in other parts of my life, i actually allowed myself to dream up something totally impulsive and care-free and wild... and i finished it. i wanted to embrace that part of me that actually thinks and obsesses over other things besides loving and caring for my children and my husband and the cats and the house and our cray-zee, marathonic, roller coastering life. honestly, i wanted to stop living vicariously and actually BE like so many of you who live in the present - so vividly, courageously and honestly - and who i deeply and truly admire and adore... :)

UPDATE 6/30:

i finally got the dvd of my meeting with johnny transferred to an avi file! and apparently, johnny depp makes me hallucinate...

after viewing the video finally, i found that it was not quite how i remembered it... not in a bad way - except that it was much shorter than it felt and that it probably didn't have nearly as much meaning as i had hoped (to him, not me)...

anyhoo... at the 1:21 mark, you will hear me say, "did you get my gift?".

(you won't see me because my friend lucy was shall we say a little "distracted". ;P)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

perspective from a bridge...

just an fyi - i have a new post up at filipina moms titled, "perspective from a bridge", about how i feebly manage to educate the kids about their filipino heritage... hope you like it. :)

btw - i had these really grand and delusional plans to publish another post (in addition to the filipina moms post) about today's adventures in potty training the porkchop... but after jumping (and jumping and jumping) in rain puddles (while walking for miiiiiiiiiiiles in search of aforementioned puddles) early this morning.... and then jumping into potty training.... and then trying to make dinner from a totally new recipe with a totally new grill pan, while simultaneously training the failing and fountainous, but smiley and jolly porkchop....

*waving white flag*

me tired. me go bed now.

fire bad. tree pretty. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

what i did during my (increasingly recurrent) blogging hiatus(es)...

* auditioned as a dance extra in a johnny depp / christian bale film shooting in chicago now called public enemies. (i didn't make it but the thin man did!)

* celebrated my 36th year on earth in vegas w/ a posse of my girls... where i got carded at social house! woo-hoo! and still caught my flight despite daylight savings time! BONUS!

* had our bedroom and entryways painted - by the slowest painting crew known to man. got trapped indoors because of inclement weather. and then, went bankrupt. and contemplated murdering painting crew and then suicide.

* immediately after painting mayhem, JUST BARELY survived another grueling spring break with the paloma and the porkchop. it was like a scene out of lord of the flies up in here people...

* watched cars and polar express with the porkchop at least once a day.

* thought up a GAZEEEEEEEELION craft ideas to entertain the paloma.

* went to our local public library with terrible tantrumming two yo at least once every week.

* shopped for fabric and sewed up a bunch of dresses and costumes as gifts for the paloma, friends and family.

* got to hang wid my sistah filipina moms bloggers - gena and mj- more wimmins i wannabees when i grows up....

* visited my chiropractor and my hair salon and my ob/gyn in an effort to get into the shower more than once a month.

* missed any and all easter holidays... bad catholic!! BAD catholic!!!

* interviewed a handful of potential babysitters so that the thin man and i could actually get a date night in a week. found mary poppins was available. SO. NOT. KIDDING. very excited!!!

* hosted a jewelry trunk show/party for one of my oldest and dearest grrlfriends, eva rios.

* got terminally obsessed, depressed and over ate desserts over the paloma ( who incidentally HATES ME! WANTS TO KILL ME! and HOPES THAT I WILL DIE!) possibly having non verbal learning disorder (just like i did this same time, last year....)

still over eating. as i type.

suffice to say the winter was bad for me.
the spring didn't start so great either.

but i'm ok and hangin' in there. slowly coming out of hiding... kinda like the butterflies i'm seeing more and more of...

i've missed blogging and commenting and reading your comments and posts.

but, i think i'm ready to play catch up.

tag. you're it. :)

Monday, March 03, 2008

the loudest baby she'd ever heard...

(i know i said no more pics of the kids... but i made the dress and the matching one for her doll!!!)

when i think back five years ago to when the paloma was born, i think about my steadfast, exhausted and golden midwife who placed an 8 lb swaddled bundle on my chest and quietly said, "i've helped a lot of new babies into the world and that little girl is by far and away the loudest one."

and she still is. i've said it before and i'll say it again... it's a crime that i can't apply for worker's comp for on the job hearing loss.

anyhoo, although the paloma's birthday is today (which you might've known if you happened to be watching sprout tv this morning), we celebrated her birthday with friends and family on saturday. by 1:30 she was birthdayed out, exclaiming in her very loudest voice, "I AM DONE PLAYING BIRTHDAY GAMES NOW! I THINK I'M REALLY TIRED!"

to which almost all parents responded with a resounding "Coats! Now!"

admittedly, i was feeling a little ordinary and inadequate because we didn't have an inflatable jumperoo, or a magician, or a storyteller, or a singer, or a balloon animal maker... like all the other birthday parties that we've been to. but, even with the few games we played (duck duck goose, red light green light, etc) and the pinata, the kids seemed like they had a good time. the parents looked bored out of their gourds, but hey, i'm only human and slightly socially inept - i can only do so much... ;)

and happy girl day btw! i've been feeling pretty down and blue lately, due to the weather and general physical and emotional malaise, i'm thinking maybe i should make a little doll (since i do that so well), entrust it with all my woes and sorrows and launch it off into lake michigan...

then, with my luck i'd probably get arrested for littering by some CPD on a segway.

Monday, February 04, 2008

the very persistent glllbrrt of palomaville

one of my faaaaaaaaavorite children's book illustrators is lane smith. one of my favorite books that he illustrated is george saunders' the very persistent gappers of frip.

in the book, the town of frip consists of three shacks by the sea inhabited by three families. the ronsens, the romos and a little girl named, capable and her father. the town of frip has been eternally plagued by gappers - orange, baseball sized, burr like things with multiple eyes - who like to attach themselves to goats and shriek happily all day and night. this does not bode well for people who make their living off of goatmilk or goatcheese.

the children of frip spend their waking hours brushing the gappers off the goats, transporting the gappers in gapper bags to a cliff, disposing of the gappers into the sea. but, the gappers (like zombies) simply walk back to the houses on the bottom of the sea to shriek goat havoc again... until one day, a very smart gapper realizes that one house is closer to the sea than the others.... capable's house.

except for people of faith kinda looking like zealots and idiots (admittedly, not too hard in some extreme cases...), i really enjoy this book - the story, the dialogue, the rhythm of the language, and most of all the lovable and hard working character of capable.

apparently, the paloma's favorite part of the whole book is the orange shreiking gappers themselves:

she drew this picture and asked me to make her a gapper whose name is glllbrrt and unlike his frip cousins is blue:

and so i did. (actually, it took me quite a while to make glllbrrt because i didn't have the right color felt or embroidery floss. and finally when i cut him out and started sewing, i kept losing his little spikes...)


btw - i finally opened a teeny tiny store on here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

stream of empathy

since hearing of heath ledger's death, i can't seem to get his former fiance (and the mother of their child, matilda), michelle williams, out of my mind... i really don't know a thing about her - the first and last time i saw her was when she played his young wife on brokeback mountain.

i think i know what it's like getting that kind of news. i can still remember sitting on the floor of my drafty garden apartment, getting the phone call that informed me that my best friend and her sister had died in a fatal car accident. i'll never forget how the world stopped revolving for a moment... how in the middle of a clear, blue september day. it felt frigid and sounded dead as any midwestern day in february.

i can't even imagine how she'll explain his death to their daughter. or how she and matilda will fill such a vast hole in their lives.

i heard that michelle williams was flying to new york from sweden where she's working on a film and i was curious so i headed to to seek more info and i found that she's working on a lukas moodysson film called mammoth:

"While on a trip to Thailand, a successful American businessman tries to radically change his life. Back in New York, his wife and daughter find their relationship with their live-in Filipino maid changing around them. At the same time, in the Philippines, the maid's family struggles to deal with her absence"

one of my fave actors, gael garcia bernal, plays the american businessman and michelle williams plays his wife. of course, i was very interested to hear more about this film with filipino actors (marife necesitos and martin de los santos) and the philippines in the storyline. i read somewhere that soon after shooting in sweden, the film crew would be shooting in thailand and the philippines.

and immediately, i remembered a vacation in cebu when i was a teenager... when i met a bunch of australian men on a surfing/diving vacation... who i mistakenly assumed and wrote off as "ugly" americans. after i got over my initial prejudices, they turned out to be very friendly, outgoing, vibrant and funny. and i thought to myself that i should really be less of an ugly american myself and elongate a future trip to the philippines to include a jaunt to australia...

and so i began to wonder if heath ledger had ever been to the philippines, since according to the australian surfers i met, aussies do like to visit the philippines... and i wonder if he had ever visited, if he liked it...

i wondered if the character that michelle williams plays will have to travel to the philipines. i hope she does as there's so much to experience, see and do there... and what if, heath had actually talked about someplace or something in the philippines that might have actually affected him or his perceptions...

which made me think of grace lin, one of my favorite children's book authors, who is sort of live-blogging a trip she's on, travelling thru china. last august, her husband passed away and she mentions her loss and her grief in a recent thoughtful, heartbreaking post on her new blog:

"And it is only from this vantage point, from way above, that I see what Robert had told me about Shanghai. He had called it a modern architect's dream, a city without any rules--allowing an architect to design his/her dream. Shanghai is an enormous hodgepodge of buildings, seemingly built upon eachother. And perhaps because I know how much Robert would have loved to have seen this, it is here that I see how much my life has changed. Faster than I had anticipated, I have created a new life for myself with a future that looks different than expected.

So, strangely, the pangs of grief I suddenly feel are not for myself but for him. It is for all the dreams he had that will not come true, all the plans he made that will not happen and all the things he wanted to see but never will.

I am glad, at least, I will see some of them for him. "

it's been over a decade and i still don't think i'm "fully recovered" from the sudden loss of my dearest friend. i don't think anyone ever really does. sometimes, i feel that her presence follows me around - she's bored out of her mind but still she follows. :) sometimes, days pass and i actually feel a little guilty that i haven't thought about her, when in the early days, she was never out of my mind... not. one. second.

i empathize with grace lin's thoughts and feelings in so many ways.... while i live this "unexpected future" - in all its brilliance and mystery. sometimes, i feel especially guilty that this present even exists for someone like me - who was not as bright, gifted and/or promising as my friend. sometimes, when i'm feeling especially pensive i ask myself what she would have done given a particular situation and find myself actually cracking a smile and supressing a laugh...

i sincerely hope and pray that as they grieve, heath ledger's family and friends will feel some comfort knowing that they are not alone in grieving and that they too will eventually recognize their "unexpected future" as the present and feel at peace.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

the legend of snowy hollow

overnight, it snowed here. a LOT.

before i went to sleep last night, i looked out the window and tried to imagine what today would be like. i don't know if i do this to psyche myself up or out.

i prayed that one of my generous neighbors/fellow preschool parents would offer to drive the paloma to and from school. because as most of you know i don't drive. at all. i walk. which for the most part is fine with me... when i'm by myself. and as 8:25 am rolled around (10 minutes past our normal departure time), i knew we would have to brave the elements.

as you know from experience (or can imagine), walking anywhere with a 4yr old and a 2yr old is difficult. add frigid temperatures, general morning crankiness and layer after layer of acrylic puffiness and/or gender neutral embroidered fleece (more than enough to choke a whale shark) and you could have the making of a perfect tantrum storm - times two - one fully mobile and one strapped to a jogging stroller that i'm struggling to push thru 2" of fresh unshoveled snow...

and then my kids surprise me. as they always do.

a sigh turns into a laugh while i'm being pelted in the head w/ poorly formed snowballs by a laughing paloma. despair turns into pleasure as the porkchop coos and points excitedly at the snowplows and salt trucks grumbling by.

the sun is shining and the sky is clear and blue and my faith in that silver lining bullsh*t is restored.

i present to you our headless snow angel...

Friday, January 18, 2008


needless to say, all of my sewing has piqued the interest of the paloma who asked me, a few days ago, if i could sew up a monster.

this monster (that she drew):

whose name is "oafeelya" :)

i really didn't think i could do it and yet:

i think i did....

IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

symphony in slang

days and days later and i'm still thinking and giggling over juno... especially how utterly idiotic i felt when i couldn't figure out what she and her bff were saying during a phonecall...

it reminded me of one of my favorite tex avery cartoons, "symphony in slang". i can't believe i actually found it! i had to share the goodness...

Silly Symphony 'Symphony In Slang' - Watch more amazing videos here

years ago, i actually owned a copy of this and other tex avery gems...

...on laserdisc.




Wednesday, January 16, 2008

say hello, loopita.

"hello loopita." she says.

yesserday... while i was finishing sewing up loopita's tail... the paloma looks at me (see HUGE blinking lightbulb over her head) and says, "MOM! when you grown up YOU could be a TOYMAKER! JUST. LIKE. *insert pregnant pause* SANTA!"

to which i should have responded, "child, who do you think taught santa how to shimmy down the chimney?"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

can't sleep...

i went to bed around 10:30 and around 12:30 i gave up trying to sleep and figured i could try to get a post out...

i've noticed that my mind wanders most (and creatively so) around this time at night but after a full indoor day with the kids i have little energy or spirit to act upon any stimulus. so, i can't promise this will be interesting or thought provoking - apologies in advance...

some backstory - the thin man and i were treated to a mostly kid free weekend (tan-Q, mom!) saturday night, we got to double date with some friends of ours (whose daughter attends the same preschool as the paloma). i spend a lot of spare (ha!) day time with my fellow mom so it was fun to get dolled up and strut out on the town with our respective huzs' at our favorite restaurant, frontera grill. it was SO good that i think my tastebuds and stomach are processing the fives stages of grief.

then, my gal pal and i were ready to go dancing - she's a former salsa dancer and i'm a former lindyhopper.... however, our boyfriends just wanted to go home and watch football. which they did. we, in turn, found ourselves in a suburb, catching the last evening screening of juno. which was FAN-TAS-TIQUE! i don't remember another time when i wholeheartedly enjoyed 92 whole minutes of something. some random thoughts about the film:

1) i am SO old... that in the first few minutes of the film... i secretly wished that there were subtitles. i don't know twentysomething slang for sh*t.

2) there were actually cool (albeit quirky) asian high schoolers in the movie! su-chin, the pro-lifer buttinsky (played by valerie tian) and vijay, the gossip mongerer who vows to stop wearing underpants (played by aman johal) . thankfully, there was no foreign accent affected english spoken.

3) i was curious about the writer, diablo cody, and found that she hails from our fair metropolis, chi-town!

4) i could listen to the juno soundtrack over and over and over again... it's a shame that i've just learned about the moldy peaches - now disbanded. thankfully, the bandmembers are still making great music though...

5) i absolutely love how the dad explains how unconditional love can happen between two people without explaining how unconditional love can happen between two people. :')

anyhoo, on sunday... i also got to do a teeny tiny bit of thrifting... i miss it so much... and i scored a great vintage crafting book about making dolls and toys. i made the easiest toy - a snake (see above) - and it turned out kinda cute. so, i started to cut out a monkey and a mouse. i was thinking that i should name the snake and give it to the paloma. and i was also thinking, what should i name the monkey and the mouse? and then, i remembered that as a child i kept a mouse in a shoebox for a few days.

i often say that our tenants/roomates in our brick three flat were the roaches and the mice. i didn't mind the mice nearly as much as i minded the roaches. my mom would bait the little mousetraps with archway oatmeal raisin cookies. (i know - i can't tell you how nightmarish that was...)

mind you, we NEVER bought cookies to EAT. the cookies were specifically bought to TRAP MICE. yeah, my kids have it REAL good... ;)

by some strange happenstance, a trap caught a mouse by the tail. and by some even stranger happenstance, my mom said it was ok for me to put it in a shoebox as a pet, in the pantry. i dunno - maybe there was some guilt... over the mouse holocaust... or denying me cookies...

and for a few days, it was ok. i fed it oatmeal raisin cookies. i sang it lullabies. it let me pet it gently. it never bit me . and then, a morning or so later, i found that it was dead. :(

i hope you're well, mouse friend, wherever you are. you were very dear to me. i hope you forgive my childhood selfishness. when i make this new little mouse friend, i'll name him "shoebox" to remind me always of you.

ok, it's 2 a.m. now... i should try to get some sleep. if you read this far, thanks. :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

please pass the salonpas....

just an fyi - i have a new post up at filipina moms blog - please pass the salonpas...

i started writing the little ditty around 1:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon. i had to stop writing when the porkchop tossed his cookies around 2 pm. changed him, his bedding and started laundry... the day came and went. writing did not resume.

i went to bed around 10 pm and then, broke out in hives around 2 am this morning... so, i took some benadryl, snuck down to the keyboard and re-started writing the post.

then, around 4 am the paloma tossed her cookies. bedding/clothing change and laundry started again.

now? now, it's 5:17 am. i'm going to go upstairs to pretend i'm sleeping....


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