Archive for November, 2010

Over dinner the other night Shnufflebubby casually mentioned that a classmate of hers called her a “meta…metapeset…?”

Moi: “You mean, metapelet?”

SB (nodding excitedly): “Yes! What does it mean?”

She was actually excited that I figured out the word, but puzzled that her teacher got angry with the classmate and reprimanded him. I had a sinking feeling, like my heart just crashed into my intestines. Metapelet is a local word for someone who takes care of the elderly and invalid, a caregiver.

Being a caregiver is a noble and honest job. Filipinos are among the best, if not THE best, at this job because of our culture of taking care of each other, of respecting the elderly and of being kind to friends and strangers alike. Unfortunately, however, despite some people’s platitudes about liberalism and egalitarianism, many of them look down on it as menial work.

As my daughter waited for an answer, many things stabbed at my heart: how this other child, young as he is and also a foreigner in this country, could have learned such an opinion from his environment; how, despite his innocence, the word was uttered as an insult to someone who had always considered him a friend; how I could explain racial discrimination in terms my daughter could understand, and in a way which would not give her a jaded view of the world.

As much as I would like to save her the pain of unpleasant experiences, I often remind myself whenever I get the overwhelming urge to tell my daughter what to do that she also needs to learn how to make her own judgment about the people around her. Shielding her from the pains of growing up and telling her what to do every step of the way would only hurt her in the end. The best I can do is teach her what is right and wrong, and arm her with the skills to help her think for herself.

Yesterday she told me she and her other friends were now staying away from that classmate. Apparently, aside from making hurtful comments, he was also prone to asking for money.


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So I got this brilliant idea that to save money this Christmas, I would give away plants that I propagated myself. (Free plant, just a little soil and a 4 shekel pot. Brilliant!)

Since we already had two giant basil bushes and a rosemary bush gone wild, I did some research on how to propagate them and promptly set my plans in motion.

The rosemary were a dismal failure because, uh, I somehow thought that stripping the lower ends of the stems would help the roots grow faster. NOT. I threw away that batch and took things slow by sticking the leftover rosemary sprig for some meatballs straight into some dirt.

The basil was another story altogether.

I don’t know if the variety we have here is some kind of genetic mutant, but the cuttings I made grew roots like crazy in one week, as opposed to the regular two weeks according to my research. Once they were potted they started sprouting leaves and branches like crazy too. In this picture, I had already trimmed them for more cuttings. TWICE.

I guess I shouldn’t be complaining. After all, I did get what I wanted, albeit too much too soon. I guess this just means more tomato basil bruchetta this month? =D

Okay, seriously, how to do it:

Cut off 3-4 inches of the green stem (apparently the brown stems don’t root so well), just above a node. I trimmed all the leaves from the cutting, except the topmost ones, because in my generally unscientific brain I thought that it would help the plants concentrate on growing roots instead of supplying nutrients to its leaves.

Then I put them in a clear jar halfway filled with water and left them on a sunny spot beside the window. I checked on them once in a while to make sure the water didn’t dry up, and after a week, it had grown 1-2 inch roots. I promptly potted and watered them, and placed them in a shady area outdoors (under the table in the garden). Since they’re technically babies, I wasn’t sure how they were going to take to the desert sun.

Now my next problem is if they will be able to withstand winter.

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This year the “naked tree” (as SB calls it) decided to show off some fruits.

It’s not exactly so much a tree as a large, thorny bush that sheds its leaves during winter (hence, naked). The fruit looks very much like a pomegranate, except that it is only slightly larger than a cherry tomato. Still, very pretty.

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I never could quite figure out the difference between a banana cake and banana bread. For some reason the ones I ate all tasted and felt the same. So I’m not quite sure what this is technically called, except that it came from a banana cup cake recipe from pinoy cook that we’ve tweaked over time.

I used to follow the original recipe, which I would use for the Shnufflebubby’s baon. Then HB requested for white chocolate instead of the the regular one. Then he asked for chopped walnuts.

Anyway, on this particular day I started out with the intention of saving the last two bananas that were threatening to over-ripen when, the Shnufflebubby, being her usual devoted, loyal self, insisted we MUST make a cake as it was her father’s birthday. So instead of putting the banana mixture into paper cups we put it in the springform pan (yes, she likes to help in the kitchen). And instead of using the electric mixer I whisked it all by hand because I didn’t relish the thought of washing all those bits and pieces afterwards. Tamad. Hee hee =P

I was a bit worried about the timing (it was my first time to wing it), but it pretty much turned out okay. Except for the part where the white chocolate morsels turned to sugary mush inside the cake, that is. In earlier batches I used roughly chopped white chocolate. Outcome duly noted then.

The last-minute arrangement of the white chocolate morsels and the candles was also SB’s idea. (We MUST have candles!!!!)

Happy birthday, Hunny!

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