Archive for July, 2011

Friday Family Date

Allow me first to be a stage mother and display my overwhelming pride through this photo:


If a picture paints a thousand words, this one would say: “Stop! Or Imma whup yo ass.” (Stage mother alert! Stage mother alert! Evacuate the building!)

A few Fridays a month we take private arnis lessons with Master Jon Escudero. It’s one of the family bonding things we do, which at the same time teaches the Babii the importance of learning to defend herself. It’s a tough world, and as much as we would like to, there will be times when we will not be around to protect her.

It is also a wonderful way for Babii to learn about Filipino culture. For those who are not familiar with arnis, it is an indigenous Filipino martial art which was used as far back as the time of Lapu-Lapu. Yes, the Spaniards (including Magellan) were defeated in 1521 via arnis— how cool is that? The era of Lapu-Lapu is actually the earliest written account (to my knowledge), but arnis most probably dates way before that. I am not an expert in arnis history so I can’t say for sure. What I do know is that it is now the national sport by virtue of Republic Act 9850.

Practicing wtih Master Jon EscuderoPracticing blocks with Master Jon

So far, the Babii has taken to it very well. She is the one who keeps tabs on whether we practice or not (most likely not), and now that she has her own sticks, she has a stronger attachment to the sport and is even more kulit.

I take this as a good sign, because a few years ago we had a long conversation about fighting in school.

Me: “If someone hits you, hit them back. Don’t worry if the school will call us about it; you have to fight back or else those kids will never stop.” (I know, bad mother!)

Babii: “But… but it’s better to forgive!” (Okay kid, you need lessons in aggression.)

 Do you see this stick, Tito Jon?Do you see this stick, Tito Jon? Rarrrrrrr.

Unfortunately, her aggression only lasts as long as our arnis lesson.

Anyway, so far, no kid has tried to hit her (except that one who bit her a long time ago–hence the lecture), but it’s good to be prepared.


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Sort-of Ramen

Friday and Saturday are weekend days here. As much as possible, we try to make at least one of these days family day where we watch a movie or go out for a family date.

Weekends are also the time when we experiment in the kitchen. During the school year, this means cooking batches of food that the Babii can take to school for lunch. It also means experimenting in the kitchen, and the one with a brilliant idea for a meal gets to assume responsibility while the rest do clean up (i.e. dish washing).

This particular Friday, R decided to modify the regular instant ramen with some beef slices, eggs, and onion leaves. But the real “hero of the dish” were the purple peppers: very spicy, with a fragrance that could reach  anyone four feet away from the dish. They came from this plant recently given to us by someone who was moving away:

Purple and  white peppers

Has anyone else seen purple and white peppers before? (They are two different plants in one pot). I am not a big fan of peppers but this was really, really good.

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I started out the seeds quite late, well into summer. I have always had a hard time growing things from seed, so I wasn’t very enthusiastic about it, but I really wanted some things in the garden and nurseries don’t always have what I want.

On the list are: dill (to add to our collection of herbs), cherry tomatoes, sunflowers, lettuce, and a variety of peppers that we collected from friends and travels.

As the white haze in the picture indicates, it is very, very hot now. We keep the seedlings shaded and watered regularly, and everything has germinated except for the lettuce (not sure what happened to this one, but it just might need some more time).

I really look forward to the day when we can pick most, if not all, of our vegetables straight from the garden and into our kitchen.

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Our landlady paid us a visit a few days ago and, as usual, brought the Babii loads of gifts. One of them was a brand new stamp book and an envelope full of stamps still stuck to their papers. It triggered a frenzy of curiosity as, apparently, we her parents neglected to orient her on the wonders of stamps.  A few days later another stamp book and hundreds more stamps were bought. The ancient method of separating stamps from paper has been passed on to another generation. 😀

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Night Market Goodies

Every summer, Thursday nights mean the summer night market. It is an excellent time to view the work of local artists and learn how to control your spending urges. Or not.

R likes to say that the best way to deal with temptation is to give in to it. In this case, the Babii kindly bought something for me because I didn’t want to be seen buying from the same stall twice in less than ten minutes. 😀 (I changed my mind after I paid, ok?)

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As most parents know, some days are just BIZAARE.

It all started off on our way home from work. We got a call from a hysterical MJ, who reported in between sobs that a dog had found its way into the back garden and bitten Mudbud/Spartacus. Now, there’s very little one can do for a small animal five kilometers away while in a  moving vehicle, except maybe throw a fit of panic, in which case there will only be more hysteria from the little person riding in the back seat.

Truthfully, no matter how news like that is announced, panic always ensues. Cue: yelling about the need to stop panicking. Sigh.

When we arrived MJ was more composed, but poor Mudbud was lying on a towel in the living room, his body twisted in a grotesque angle and his pulse racing. (Note: piggies are very sensitive and get stressed easily) I called the animal hospital (good thing we kept all those giveaway magnets) while R knocked on the neighbor’s door to ask if they had a black dog. Indeed, they had a visitor who had a BIG black dog, whom they put in the back garden because, well, that’s a good place for a dog to be. It so happened that all our back gardens have high ledges inside (for plants), and the dog, hearing little squeaky noises on the other side, probably used the ledge to jump over the wall.

Later on, the vet told us that Mudbud most likely made a whistling noise, which piggies do when they are scared, and the dog probably thought he was a toy and grabbed him with his mouth. The dog was actually quite friendly and well behaved, and the owner was equally distraught when she knew what had happened. We all trooped to the vet where poor Mudbud was poked and prodded and X-rayed. (Yes, apparently there is such a thing.) Then he was injected with a painkiller and hooked up to an IV to give him fluids since he wasn’t eating.

The NeedleThe needle.

Make it quick and painless, Doc

Getting a camel hump for fluids
Waiting for the hump to fill up.

He squeaked so piteously during the injections, it was soooo difficult. I didn’t even know I could be so affected by the injury of an animal. During the ride home I was telling myself not to break, but my resolve was sorely tested throughout the whole ordeal. Kids expect their parents to have all the answers and to be able to fix everything, and in this case we had a piggy that might not be fixable and a little heart that was threatening to shatter all over the place.

The Babii was so upset that she couldn’t bring herself to look at the dog or talk to the owner the whole time. I must admit that at the beginning, I couldn’t either. But the owner of the dog was very kind; she accompanied us to the vet, translated for us and shouldered all the bills, and it was a golden opportunity to teach the Babii about kindness, responsibility, forgiveness, and being gracious to others.

On the side, our appearance at the vet caused a little stir among the other clients, who were all equally horrified to learn what happened and all wondered, “What kind of animal is THAT?” (I think it was more because they didn’t realize a guinea pig could be so fat huge.) Poor Mudbud.

The vet recommended that we put him in a corner for an hour to let him recover. He also made it a point to say that since piggies were so sensitive, Mudbud is more likely to be damaged from the shock than from the broken shoulder. So, quiet time it is.

Miss Piggy tries to comfort Mudbud

Miss Piggy is so sweet, she’s been nuzzling and cuddling him since he returned. For now, they both stay indoors until Mudbud heals and R builds a better cage for them.

Throughout all this, a thought tugged at the back of my mind: Thank God for people who decide to become vets. I think it takes a special person to choose to heal and take care of animals, and as I stood there, watching the vet examine Mudbud, I could only guess how much drama these vets see everyday from pet owners who barge into their clinics thinking it is the end of the world.

Embarrassing, yes. But when you have wide, tear-filled eyes beseeching you to do something, there are very few things a parent wouldn’t do.

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Facebook Status: Offline

My friends (I mean, my real friends) have probably noticed by now that I barely go on Facebook these days. A lot has been happening in the past month, and it just came to a point where I preferred to spend more time with real people in real time than spend hours in front of the computer (which I do enough of already).

The result has been quite liberating, and it reaffirmed my theory that there are many things in life we can do without, but which a lot of savvy marketing has indoctrinated us to think we can’t.

Unfortunately, some of my Facebook “friends” are taking it personally that I haven’t been making my presence felt. It’s too bad, really. But I’m still enjoying my Facebook-less status and I intend to keep it up for some time. In the end, I might even delete my account altogether. 🙂

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