A Tubby Tabby, Three Konekos, and a Life with Hello Kitty and Autism

Archive for the 'Friends' Category

The Gift

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

the-gift-01Two weeks ago, I was absolutely strapped for cash. For the first time in a really long time, I lost track of all my spending and ended up not having a lot to spare. Yes, it would have been very easy to ask my husband for more money, and I know he would have found a way to give it too, even if it hurts (he is that kind, thank You, Lord), BUT having just a smidgen of pride left, I decided not to. I thought that since I created this problem, I ought to learn from it. For the next two weeks, I decided, I would have to be content with having less than P300 in my pocket, and I would have to tighten my finances and curb any impulse to buy anything.

It sounds rather silly, thinking about my predicament, especially since so many people in our country actually do subsist on so much less. I think that was what put it in perspective for me. And so, while this little worrying thought (the persistent what-if?) nagged at the back of my head, I was able to put it aside and not dwell too much on it.

One Friday, as I did my normal thrice-weekly run, I was drawn to a chapel along my route. I heard voices singing and I felt compelled to come in to listen to mass. When Offertory came, I got what I was carrying on me (PhP200) and dropped half in the collections basket. “God, please, just take care of me,” I whispered a silent prayer. As mass ended, I felt incredibly lighter and worry-free. For the first time in days, I could even smile about my last P100 bill.

When I got home that day, my inbox was filled with news of sales and new items for Hello Kitty collectors. I enjoyed looking at them as I browsed through pictures. I opened my network accounts, reading through news of friends and relatives. One item caught my eye and I hurriedly clicked on the link. One of my generous friends, Sonia, had held a special raffle of Hello Kitty items in honor of her birthday, and to my surprise, I had won! First prize, can you imagine that!


I’ve never really been lucky in games of chance and  raffles; I’ve never won anything remotely interesting in my life from any of them (well, except for a golf cap I got as 15th consolation prize  from a Tropical Hut promo when I was 13), so this was both a blessing and a surprise. I was so giddy  with excitement that I called everyone in the house and showed them the lovely HK cosmetic carry case I had won. We jumped up and down and shrieked and laughed. Judging from our reactions, you’d think I’d have won the lotto.

That night, before I went to bed, I thought about how God really took care of me that day. Of how he gave me a gift to remind me that His love heals all worries. My troubles seem silly and petty when seen against the backdrop of the world’s greater problems, but I think of this incident as a little nudge from God, reminding me to be faithful.

So thank you, dear Sonia, for your generous gesture of sharing. And thank you, dear Lord, always, for Your gifts of friends and love in my life always.

Tag! I’m It!

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

I still haven’t finished giving away the Kick A** Award and today, I have just the person in mind. Before we proceed to that, however, I’d like to answer a Google image tag from Little Miss Firefly. I had such a great time looking for pictures! If you must know, I’m also addicted to Google, and if such a thing as a PhD in Google-ology exists (I think I beat Jenny McCarthy to this), I bet I’d have gotten it by now.

The rules are:
a) answer the question below, do a Google Image search with your answer, take a picture from the 1st page of results, do it with minimal words of explanation; and
b) tag 5 people to do the same once you’ve finished answering every question.

Okay, let’s take a deep breath… *hu hu hu… hi hi hi…* and agree to this: how about we do the first one and skip number 2? Everyone happy with that? :-) (I bet people just heaved a sigh of relief with this one.)

1. The age you’ll be on your next birthday:

Do you see it? I hope you don’t, heehee. Ah, well, I don’t look a day over 39, anyway. :-)

2. Place you want to travel to:

Easy enough to answer, this one is. (Do I sound like Yoda?) A and I haven’t traveled a lot as a couple (well, he does, but for work) and almost everyone who knows the circumstances of our lives knows why. But one of these days, before we get too old and wobbly to move on our own, we would like to spend a little time here, in the City Of Lights. And if it doesn’t happen, I think I can photoshop myself very well in one of these pictures, heehee.

3. Your favourite place:

My favorite place in the whole wide world is the bedroom. This is where the family congregates most days: A and Alex watching movies on DVD, me playing with my Hello Kitty doll, and Alphonse blowing bubbles by the side. And of course, this lovely picture-perfect room isn’t my bedroom, but this one is:

(from Alphonse’s PECs cards)

Notice how there’s a blanket on the headboard? It’s to prevent Alphonse from banging his front teeth on it. He’s already chipped one. :-(

4. Your favourite food:

Yummy! I could eat a quart in one sitting! This is also my favorite flavor. A little trivia: did you know that this uses red cabbage juice for coloring, and not some nasty allergy-inducing Red #40? Hooray for Ben & Jerry!

5. Your favourite pet:

Alex used to have a guinea pig named Genie who looks almost like this little fellow, except she was slightly darker. He was five when he begged to get her but like most little children, he failed to realize the responsibilities that came with having a pet. So Genie became mine. I gave her baths, brushed her hair, fed her carrots, celery, and nuts and cleaned her cage. I even taught her some tricks using ABA.

Sadly, she’s passed on to the place where all good guinea pigs go to after life. Her cage now stands empty. I still miss her little shrieks. *Woot! Woot!*

6. Favorite color combination:

Pink and brown- these colors are gorgeous together!

7. Favorite piece of clothing:

I’m a jeans girl at heart and am thankful that there are very good local brands that cater to full-figured women. When A and I were planning our church wedding, I was seriouly considering getting married in one, but my mom vetoed my suggestion. Yeah, maybe she was right on that one… maybe.

8. Your all time favorite song:

My all-time favorite song comes from the movie “Bituing Walang Ningning.” It’s “Sana’y Maghintay Ang Walang Hanggan,” with lyrics and music by Willy Cruz and Baby Gil. I get 99 on Magic Sing with this too! (Magic Sings says “What a excellent singer!”)

9. Favorite TV show:

We’re doing “Monk” marathons at home so this has got to be a current favorite. On shows for more mature audiences, A and I love “Deadwood.”

10. First name of your significant other:

No, not Maria. :-)

11. Which town do you live in:

We live in a little barrio in one of the most populous and biggest cities in the Philippines, where sidewalks are brick red (or will soon be), and where urban lifestyles meet with rural surroundings. I’m a Kyusi (Q.C. for Quezon City) girl, born and bred.

12. Your screen name/nickname:


Kittymama is Kitty’s mama. :-)

13. Your first job:

I wasn’t as cute as that little girl, though.

14. Your dream job:

I’m living it!

15. One bad habit that you have:

I’m a verrry late sleeper and my hours don’t always coincide with A’s. He sleeps early and wakes up at the crack of dawn whereas I can’t sleep until the wee hours of the morning. Thankfully, Alphonse doesn’t wake up early too often and I can make up for lost sleep then. I ought to change, I know.

16. Worst fear:

Loss of my loved ones. And I’m not even going to think about it right now. Just thinking about it makes me weep.

17: Things you’d like to do before you die:

And maybe sing back-up to Sharon Cuneta. :-)

18. The 1st thing you’ll buy if you get $1,000,000:

This is my dream home, a Tokyo Mansions home smack in the heart of one of Metro Manila’s most affluent cities.

19. Your husband/wife:

Kitty’s boyfriend is Dear Daniel. If I’m Kittymama, does that make A Danielpapa?

20. What present would you like for your next birthday? (Note: make it anniversary, heehee.)

This, I would love to have. I’m partial to the first edition Hello Kitty Build-A-Bear because Hello Kitty is traditionally a white cat, but the sunkissed Kitty is just as beautiful. I would love to have any of these two, with lots of clothes and shoes. Ah, eBay, here I come!


Thank you, Odette, for this enjoyable tag! As a thank you gift, I pass on this second Kick A** award to one of the most creative people I know. Odette (or Little Miss Firefly) makes beautiful things by hand, and if you go visit her blog right now, you’ll find that she’s been very busy these past few weeks with her household projects. She’s also one heck of a photographer with an amazing eye for detail. I wish I was even just half as creative as she is.

So here’s to you, Little Miss Firefly, and may you continue to light the world with your beautiful creations. :-)

NSE Kicks A**

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

I normally stay away from blogging till Wednesday morning, and only after I’ve submitted my articles for the week. This I do as a matter of discipline since blogging eats up a lot of my time (verrry, verrry addictive!). But just this once, while sending out an article to my editor this afternoon, I finally gave in to the temptation to bloghop and surf the web. Lo and behold, I found this:

See the arrow I put over there? See the name?


No Special Effects is a finalist in the Food and Beverage Category of the 2008 Philippine Blog Awards! Man, I am definitely impressed. And soooo proud!

To Manggy, my young friend, whose amazing talents have given us this wonderful, quirky, enjoyable, and highly compelling blog, I send you all the positive energy of the universe and wish you success. If it were up to me (and no insult to the fine blogs who are nominated with you), I’d hand you over the  award, hands down.

And with this in mind, I hereby bestow this award that has been waiting for quite a time to move on to its next recipient: The Kick Ass Award given to me by the very generous Teacher Julie.   

This is for you, Manggy, because you definitely kick a** (sorry, I try not to use the word very often because my son reads this blog, heehee).

Hats off to you! Hip, hip, hooray!

Girls In My Circle

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Dedicated to my girl friends:

     My mother, my first best friend,

     Cocok, my best friend since grade school at the ‘knoll,   

     Cynthia, my best friend in high school at Pisay,

     Helen and Gaylie, my best friends in med school,

     Jasmine and Joee, my sisters who are the second mothers to my children,

     Joyce, my baby sister-in-law (although she’s no longer a baby),

     Ampy, my baby cousin (she’s no longer a baby too) who is Alphonse’s adored aunt and teacher, 

     Ondine, wife of our (A’s and mine’s) high school buddy Jun, and my dearest kumare

     Leirs, my kumare (we sealed the bond online, can you imagine that?)

     Megamom, my high school classmate with whom I shared the Abominable Snowman experience(*wink*) and newly-rediscovered friend (see, we’re making up for lost time)

     And to all the women who have shown me kindness, compassion, and friendship: Casdok, Susan, Maddy, Babs, Cris, Beth, Julie, Mari, Odette, Gracey, Vivi, Esi, Dee, Allen, Nancy, and Shirley, this one’s for you!


When I was little,
I used to believe in the concept of one best friend,
And then I started to become a woman.
And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up,
God would show you the best in many friends.

One friend is needed when you’re going through things with your man.
Another friend is needed when you’re going through things with your mom.
Another will sit beside you in the bleachers as you delight in your children and their activities.
Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be.

One friend will say, ‘Let’s cry together,’
Another, ‘Let’s fight together,’
Another , ‘Let’s walk away together.’

One friend will meet your spiritual need,
Another your shoe fetish,
Another your love for movies,
Another will be with you in your season of confusion,
Another will be your clarifier,
Another the wind beneath your wings.

But whatever their assignment in your life,
On whatever the occasion,
On whatever the day,
Or wherever you need them to meet you with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back,
Or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself ..
Those are your best friends.

It may all be wrapped up in one woman, but for many, it’s wrapped up in several..

     One from 7th grade,
     One from high school,
     Several from the college years,
     a couple from old jobs,
     On some days your mother,
     On some days your neighbor,
     On others, your sisters,
     And on some days, your daughters.

So whether they’ve been your friend for 20 minutes or 20 years,
Pass this on to the women that God has placed in your life to make a difference.

No Words Spoken

Friday, July 25th, 2008
Image by © Martin Meyer/zefa/Corbis
Image by © Martin Meyer/zefa/Corbis

Alphonse and I were waiting in the car last night for A who had gone to run some errands for me (I had him buy some glue sticks from the bookstore). I was reading some messages sent via SMS, quite oblivious to the giggling I was hearing from the back of the car. A few minutes later, Alphonse turned on the interior dome light, apparently to see who he was giggling with. Instinctively, I turned around to tell him off (one of his repetitive habits is switching the lights on and off) when I noticed a young boy standing beside Alphonse’s window. The boy was probably no more than ten years of age, scrawny, dressed in threadbare clothes. He was one of the street urchins who usually offer the use of their umbrellas on rainy days for a fee. Separated by the sheet of window glass, they stared at each other for a few seconds.

Then Alphonse started to giggle, as he looked expectantly at the boy for a reaction. The boy started chuckling in turn, moving his arms in the air, even jumping up and down.. This went on for a few minutes until they were both howling in laughter. After a while, the young boy waved goodbye. Alphonse waved back.  He smiled all the way home. 

Wish that making friends were always this easy.  


Speaking of friendships, I can’t begin to tell everyone how the experience of blogging has opened the world for me with renewed friendships and new ones forged. With a few strokes of the keyboard and a few clicks of the mouse, I have expanded my world beyond what I know.

Megamom shared this lovely tag with me a few weeks ago (thank you, dear friend) and she has an inspiring (and heartbreaking) story to tell that relates to the origins of this tag. I invite you all to click on the links above and read it for yourself. Sharing The Love was created by a grateful mom named Crystal, in honor of the individual who gave her one year-old son Noah a new lease in life by way of an organ donation on July 7, 2007. Noah’s new heart represents not only the best in humanity- the capacity to sacrifice even in the midst of grief- it also speaks of hope and love that we, as sentient beings, all aspire to.

The rules of this award are: SHARE THE LOVE!!! Share this award with all those blogs out there that you love. All the people who make you smile. All those that make you laugh. All those that make your day. All those that leave uplifting comments on your blog. **All I ask, is that you include a link to this post with the award and ask your recipient to do the same**

I pass on this beautiful gift to the special people who have touched my life by way of the written word.

To Casdok of Mother of Shrek and Susan Senator, both mothers of young men with autism, my heroes in this fascinating journey of life with autism,

Susan’s Nat and Casdok’s C are leaving home to explore the world- to learn, to work, to have fun, to   dream- and while I am as proud of them as their mothers, I can’t help but feel their moms’ worries,  apprehensions, anxieties, and fears. It takes a lot of courage and faith to set a child free to explore life. And so I send this to Casdok and Susan, with all the love I can muster in this world, for being the kind of mother I always dream to be.

To Odette of Little Miss Firefly and Gracey of XOXOGracey, whose ingenious crafts are as remarkable as their personalities,

As Odette starts a life Ireland with the man of her heart, I send her this with all the prayers and best wishes for a happy life. And to Gracey, who brings the vibrant colors of our country’s summers to the Netherlands, I send her this, too, with blessings of more grace in her life. Thank you for bringing color to my life.   

And to Mark of No Special Effects, a brilliant young man whose talents never cease to amaze me,  

A physician in the cusp of his career, Doc Mark is the unusual soul whose interests in food and photography make him my all-time favorite food blogger. His gorgeous pictures never fail to heal my soul, and his kindness to an old fogey like me (he visits this blog, yay!) is truly a gift. Thank you!

 God bless you all, dear friends!

For Leirs

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

a fragile lifeMy friend Leirs and her family are going through a very tough time. I would like to ask all those who pass by this site today to say a little prayer for her, her husband, and their family in their time of grief.

Dear friend, know that you and your family are in our prayers always.

Way To Go!

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

newspapersI get my daily newspapers at night, when A comes home from work. He brings home nine different newspapers each night, part of a journalistic exchange practice they’ve had for years. Nights, however, I have very many things going on all at the same time so I am always hard pressed to finish all nine of them. I usually get my paper time in the mornings before Alphonse is up, while I have my morning brew.

Monday was a holiday so reading the papers was out. A was home, which meant conversations over breakfast, and not my solitary pursuit of hot drink and the papers. This morning, as I was reading through Monday and Tuesday’s papers, a name jumped out from the byline- my friend C! She had written an article about autism (she didn’t tell me :-( ) and it was on one of Monday’s papers. I was so giddily happy I texted her right away and told her I’m keeping a copy to have it signed. :-)

Here is a scanned picture of her article. (I couldn’t find a link on the online archives anymore, even as this is a major broadsheet.) I’ve also blurred her name to protect her privacy.

Congratulations, my friend!

What made me even happier was the fact that Hello Kitty got special mention. Even better, C was referring to MY Hello Kitty autism awareness widget! Yay for friends!

Kitty Speaks

Great job, C!

My Gratitude Knows No Bounds

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Thank you!

To all my friends, old and new, who wished me a happy birthday, whether through this blog, or through Multiply, Friendster, text message, or email, many, many thanks for your well wishes and prayers. I will post pictures from my birthday celebration(s) as soon as I upload and sort them. :-) A and I had a really great time! 

When It Rains, It Pours

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

a WALL of Awards (wow!)

I love awards as much as the next person, and I certainly welcome any and all awards/ badges that may come my way. This humongous award comes from Teacher Julie and I am astounded at the sheer size of it all. (Thank you! Thank you!)

To top it all, I haven’t gotten around to posting this giant award when she decided to send more love my way via this:

More awards

Oh, my, I feel truly blessed! (Not to mention spoiled!) I do have an issue with the Sexy Blogger Award, not that I mind being called “sexy” (as they say, being sexy is all a state of the mind). May I change it to Hefty Blogger Award, just this once, for me? The latter definitely rings truer. :-) Whenever I hear the word “sexy,” I am reminded of six-year-old Alex’s retort when I asked him why he didn’t used the word to describe me in his essay. “But Mama, that would be a lie!” Yeah, kid, way to suck up to Mom. (Haha!) 

Okay back to the award.

As much as I love receiving these wonderful awards and badges, I can think of no better use for them than to share them and spread the love around. I love all the sites I’ve listed in my blogroll, but I do have some “staples”- places where I can be found hanging out, lurking, loitering, or simply visiting any time of the day. I am drawn to them because they speak of a theme which, despite the thousands of miles among us, unite us: Autism. 

Today being the first day in Worldwide Autism Awareness Month, I am dedicating this to: Susan Senator, Beth of Fragile What?, Bud’s Mom at Mom-NOS, Kim of Mommyhood, Casdok of Mother of ShrekBabs of Awalkabout’s Weblog, Maddy of Whitterer on Autism, Leirs of Mushings, and Cris of Eclectic Journals. These moms are my lifelines in the often confusing world of parenting a child with autism.

So to you, my dear friends, I dedicate these gifts of the heart. In a world often struggling with strife and intolerance, you live with more complex challenges than “normal” families do but you do it with so much aplomb, dignity, and love. I have learned so much from all of you about understanding, acceptance, and tolerance. Your eloquence, empathy, and support make me hopeful that a better world can be created for all our children.

You are my heroes.

Mommy’s DAYS Out Part II

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Welcome Banner

Saturday was Alex’s Family Day. Originally, we had planned for Alex and myself to be there at nine and stay till four in the afternoon, and Alphonse and A to follow only at lunch time to cut on waiting time. With Alex’s theater club working overtime, however, we had to scuttle our plans and squeeze a few hours with them before Alex went back to acting practice.

Go,Go V!Alex and I were part of the Blue Team, which, before we left, was tied with the Yellow Team at 1-1. The Yellow Team trashed us horribly in father-and-son basketball- 33 to our 16 points- but then again, they had a deeper bench and could make substitutions readily when someone was tired. I think we had a better team (our boys were really good players), but because some of our dads had knee injuries, our playing dads were forced to stretch themselves to their limits. The Yellow Team was so confident of a win that they even substituted a mom for one of the dads (rubbing salt to our injured egos);  V sure showed us how to play basketball in style. (Go, Go, V!)

The Blue Team won in the milk-drinking contest. I wish I could show you how cute our boys looked chugging down milk from baby bottles (!) but we all promised them that they will never ever find humiliating photographs of themselves on the Internet. :-)

My Gorgeous Friends C, C,and S

Before Alex and I left, we shared lunch with the class (26 boys and their families came) and took a souvenir photo of all of us. The food was delicious and plentiful; it seemed everyone brought something for everyone else. We had lunch, picnic style, under the shade, picking off from each other’s plates, feasting on E’s pork adobo, and C’s chicken galantina and green Indian mangoes with bagoong (shrimp paste), and many other delightful dishes from our generous co-parents.

B FamilyAlex and I missed the last games of the day, held after lunch, as we had to rush back to school for more practice. Gorgeous S sent me a message a little after four to give me the good news! The Blue Team won! Yahoo!

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