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

Archive for the 'My Personal Space' Category

Five Riddles

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Between the last week of classes (for Alex, which coincidentally was also the week of final exams) and an impromptu weekend trip planned just days before the actual date, last week I was neck deep (and sinking fast) in unfinished chores.

Add to that nanny transitions (’tis the time of the year, it seems), an on-again-off-again problem with our home Internet connection, and an irresistable urge to play Superpoke Pets and Farm Town on Facebook (whenever I got connected), and blogging took an unexpected back seat to my other life.  Alex teases me by calling  it ”A Facebook Life.”



See my two new addictions? :-)

Before I fill you in on the things I’ve been up to, here are the answers to my last post. Manggy got a lot of them right (I’ll concede his answer to number three though match heads do come in quite an assortment of colors, not just black); then again, Manggy’s one brainy dude. :-) 

1: The third room. Lions that haven’t eaten in three years are dead.

2: The woman took a photo, developed it, and hung it up to dry.

3: Charcoal (but black-headed matchsticks do burn the same way)

4: Yesterday, today and tomorrow!

5: No e’s

Will be back in a little while, dearest friends, to share some photos of our spur-of-the-moment trip. Let’s hope my Internet connection is more stable then.

Have a great weekend!

Midweek Fun

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

It’s Wednesday, the middle of the work week, and I am sooo looking forward to the weekend.  :-)

I’ve found out, however, that on a completely kitty-potty-thinking-copyoverwhelming day such as this, it helps to break the stress and tedium of the day with some quiet time. Sit down, put your feet up, breathe, close your eyes, and meditate. (And if you’re anything like me, the bathroom has got to be the best place for some quiet time!)

For some with a little more energy to spare, perhaps you can spend a few minutes to have some fun with these questions a friend sent me. These are simple, no need to get your underwear (or mine) in a knot over them. And I’m sure everyone will get the answers right. :-)

I’ll post the answers tomorrow.

1. A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose among three
rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of
assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven’t
eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him?

2. A woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over
five minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But five minutes later they both go out
and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?

3. What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and gray when
you throw it away ?

4. Can you name three consecutive days without using the words
Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday?

5. This is an unusual paragraph.  I’m curious as to just how quickly
you can find out what is so unusual about it.  It looks so ordinary and
plain that you would think nothing was wrong with it.  In fact, nothing
is wrong with it! It is highly unusual though.  Study it and think
about it, but you still may not find anything odd.  But if you work at
it a bit, you might find out. Try to do so without any coaching!

Happy Thinking!

Sewing Frenzy

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

sewing-project-01I like to describe myself as a nerd who discovered her arts and crafts bone a little late in life. I didn’t even realize I had it until I had my first child. My very first project was a series of small hand painted oven-baked ceramic pots to hold small baby things. My husband loved them and he loved the idea of personalizing our son’s nursery with handcrafted objects. Emboldened by the success of my first project, I soon discovered a passion for things my hand (and my heart) could create. I learned how to crochet properly, to knit, to do cross-stitch and embroidery. I dabbled in cardboard 3D puzzles, in paper tole and decoupage; why, I even learned to paint with watercolor! Add to this my experiments in the kitchen as I grew and learned as wife and mother, and I could say with all honesty that for a nerd, I wasn’t such a bad student of the arts.

Despite my successes, however, I could not sew, except by hand.

Machine sewing, for me, was the final frontier and the most frustrating part of my arts and crafts journey.  Blame the phobia I developed in grade school, when as a sixth grader, I accidentally pushed my  hand a little past the machine’s presser foot and I sewed a golden yellow thread across the breadth of my poor thumb. The needle went through my nail, through the nailbed, and through the bone of the distal phalanx. Ouch! Little Miss Firefly, I am most definitely not! (Check out her blog for all her cool, creative projects!)hk-dress-me-up-doll-brown

This week, however, was the impetus I needed to overcome this phobia. My beautiful Singer sewing machine (model number 1116, see picture above) has waited for me since Christmas, another thoughtful and generous gift from A, but I was too scared to do anything with it. When my latest Hello Kitty Dress- Me Doll arrived, I knew I had to get moving. After all, she was clad in such an immodest fashion that I simply could not leave her lying around the house in a state of undress! What would my sons think?  :-)

I remembered I had a pair of pajamas I bought at a thrift shop a few months ago that was in need of hemming. Cutting it short gave me enough fabric for two doll blouses, one for Fudge Brownie (the new suntanned Dress-Me Kitty) and Bee (my tropical HK Build-A-Bear). Moreover, unearthing a couple of pairs of torn jeans,  I decided to make my first pair of doll skinny jeans too. I made some mistakes in the process, but for a first time sewer, my projects didn’t turn out too bad.


Bee and Brownie (or Fudge, which sounds yummier) in identical clothing

I like that I can make my dolls’ clothes and not spend a lot on ready-made clothing for them. And who knows? Once I get the knack of the machine (right now, I am very, very good with very, very straight stitches), maybe I can learn to make my own clothes too. In this time of want and need, that certainly can be a money-saving, even moneymaking, skill.

And with this, I realized once again that happiness is… realizing that the only limits are the ones you set for yourself, and nothing, not even five left thumbs in one hand, can stop you from making a dream come true.

This very late post is dedicated to Little Miss Firefly in faraway Ireland, she who constantly brings a dose of happiness to everyone she meets. Thank you for the friendship, dear Odette. You constantly inspire me to better myself.

The One Who Got Away

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

I wrote this a few weeks before Valentine’s Day, with the intention of posting it as soon as it was finished. Somehow, the days slipped through my fingers and I forgot.

This is for you, A -  the one who stayed - for all the Valentines you and I have been together. Even through our sometimes difficult life, I have never hand a single moment of regret with you.

hk-unbreak-my-heart2We often wax poetic over “the one who got away.” Memories are tricky that way. Like light that passes through a prism and breaks into a rainbow of colors, memories often pass through a sieve that breaks our remembrances and filters the past of its unpleasantness. And through these tinted lenses, we remember things a little differently, a little wistfully, perhaps, with a tinge of nostalgia and a bit of longing. 

We remember the good times we lost. We romanticize the hours of pining and sweet aching. We idealize the nights of wondering about an imagined future. “The one who got away” becomes our life’s ultimate unanswered “what-if?” We think about where he (or she) could be now, what he (or she) is doing at this exact moment. Is he  thinking of you too? Do you even cross his mind? We wonder if the life we lead now is where we were meant to be. We second-guess our decisions. We live in the past.

Yet, in that rose-colored haze, we often forget that “the one who got away” is usually the one who broke your heart. The one who dumped you once, even twice. The one who cheated. The one who couldn’t commit. The one who lied.

He wasn’t perfect, that much is obvious. And so what if the timing was a little bit off?  For true hearts in love, time and space are ephemeral. You would have hocked the universe just to make your relationship work; why couldn’t he have done the same?  Timing, or the lack of it, not being emotionally prepared, not being committed —  these are all cop-outs, excuses people make up to rationalize their wanton disregard of another human being’s feelings. If he was not ready to commit, why bother to go through the whole thing? The truth is, and take it from an old hand in love, it does matter who you’re with, whether he (or she) is a jerk, a coward, or just a complete fraud. Timing’s the least of your worries. 

I can’t totally promise this, but one day, “the person who will not go away” will come. This is the person who will not lie to you. Who will not make you cry. Who will not break your heart.

You and he may not be both ready but it will not matter one bit. When love comes, and I mean true love, nothing else will matter. Not your fears. Not your doubts. Not the inconsequential little things that people seem to worry so much about.

I know too that when that day comes the “what-ifs” will no longer be important. You will realize that reality is so much cooler than imagined expectations. Chuck those clouded eyeglasses for a reality check and just heave a welcome sigh of relief. Thank God, that one got away, for indeed, you are lucky.

You got away too. ♥

Running For My Life

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

I woke up this morning resolved to commit myself to a daily run (well, ehr, more like a really, really brisk walk) but I stepped out to a gloomy, rainy, windy day. The cold weather has made me more ambitious about my exercise regimen of late; I like that I can stay longer outside these days.

On good weeks, I am able to go out thrice a week for my walks/runs. I walk or run alone, with my iPod as sole companion , but along the way, I’ve made some nodding acquaintances in my route. There’s this husband and wife team who jogs daily while holding on to oversized weights. I am amazed that they are able to keep a running conversation between them almost every time I see them. Every now and then, they acknowledge my presence and wave a chirpy hello, even as I wonder if they ever run out of things to say.

There’s also this fabulously fit lady who runs with an iPod shuffle and heart rate monitor attached to her arm, a pedometer on her foot,  and a cellphone in her waistband. She gives me a little smile every now and then, but mostly she keeps content monitoring her various gadgets as she dashes way ahead of me.

And then there’s this old man who runs in the briefest of running shorts that seem very likely to reveal parts left unseen that I am embarrassed to meet his eyes when he runs past me (notice the recurring theme of people running past me?).

I like to observe them as they run or walk about. They help make the 3.5 to 5 km I cover more interesting, and with the music of  Everything But the Girl, Basia, Sharon Cuneta, The Company and Christopher de Leon (I am still enamored with his “Awit Pelikula” album) in my ears, the distance seems almost bearable for my overweight, huffing body.

I like that I feel I am in control of my body, even as my weight has dropped off only slightly in the last few months. The weight I’ve gained since late 2006 is still a long way from being gone, but I feel more awake and more alive these days. And with Oprah confessing to having fallen off the wagon of weight control, I actually feel less guilty about regaining much of the 67 lbs I lost in 2004. When I feel the wind in my face, I feel like I can just about do anything. It’s almost like a fresh start.running-copy2

And so I don my running shoes, and my soggy sweats, and my Hello Kitty arm warmers, visor, and sunglasses. I sling my Hello Kitty bag over my shoulder, slip my pedometer on my right foot, and run. Run until my tongue hangs over my mouth. Until I can feel the blood pounding in my head. And then I take a deep breath and slow down to a brisk walk. When I feel less likely to pass out, I run again. In short bursts, I find I am able to run like the wind. And for a briefest moments, I am the wind.

Jumpstart To Christmas

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Only three more days before Christmas, and I realize that I have been missing in action for nearly a month. I feel old and stiff before the keyboard, my fingers are screaming “arthritis!” and my back resents the time spent sitting still. But they say blogging is like riding a bike; once you learn how, you almost never forget.

Still, I wanted to simply ease into blogging again after a month’s hiatus, and what better way to get back on the bicycle again than to do a good old-fashioned tag, Christmas style? I am “borrowing” this tag from from Amelia, Tess, and Sophie’s mom at For Better Or For Worse

Christmas Tag

1. Wrapping paper or gift bag? Wrapping paper! (This year it’s plain gold paper, and red satin bows and ribbons to finish the look.)

2. When do you put the tree up? Right after All Saints’/ All Souls’ Days

3. When do you take the tree down? Near Valentine’s Day (heehee!)

4. Eggnog? Nopes! Since we limit our casein intake (in deference to Alphonse’s GFCF diet), we prefer homemade Hawaiian punch instead. Christmas in the tropics rocks! Woohoo!

5. Favorite gift received as a child? Baby Alive, the doll that peed and poodbaby-alive


6. Hardest person to buy for?? My husband. He’ll be the first to tell you he doesn’t want or need anything. Gives me a headache each time I look for gifts for him. :-(

7. Easiest person to buy for? Alphonse. Bubbles do it for him. Lots of bubbles.

8. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. Most Filipino homes do. :-)

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? I used to do Christmas cards but e-cards are sooo convenient.

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? A washcloth. The person who gave it simply didn’t care.

11. Favorite Christmas movie? I have two favorites- It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) starring James Stewart and  The Gift of Love (1978) starring Marie Osmond and Timothy Bottoms.

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas? All year round, I like to pick up gifts as I see them.

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, when I receive duplicates of items I already have, but I am very particular about what I recycle and whom I give them to.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Lengua (Ox Tongue), either estofado or in mushroom sauce. I use a pressure cooker for softening the ox tongue, and because I am afraid of pressure cookers, I cook this only once a year, on Christmas Day.

15. Lights on the tree? Yes, white ones!  (A finally got them up five days before Christmas! Yay!)

16. Favorite Christmas song? “Silent Night”

17. Least favorite Christmas song? “I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus”

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? When my mother-in-law was alive, we alternated Christmas Eves between my parents and A’s. When she passed on in 2005, Christmas Eve became simply our family tradition.  Christmas Day is spent with my parents and siblings.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Rudolph, Dasher, Donner, Prancer, Comet, Cupid, Blitzen, Vixen
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel holding a teensy weensy Hello Kitty plush.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Carolers who demand payment for singing the same song over and over again, garbage collectors/ delivery men who give  us envelopes for “donations” each time they perform a service that is simply part of their jobs.  


23. Favorite ornament theme or color? My favorite ornaments theme would still be Hello Kitty.24. Favorite Christmas dinner? Adelina’s ham, Szechuan prawns, lengua, spaghetti and fried chicken (for the kids)

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Peace in the home, at work (A’s), and in the country

Guitar Hero-Kitty Rockin’ Momma

Friday, October 31st, 2008

This is a DIY project I did over the weekend, using a laptop vinyl skin I purchased online. I first created a template using tracing paper, and transferred the pattern on the vinyl. I also hand cut all the holes with a cutter. The entire project lasted more than hour but it was worth it. Now I rock to Guitar Hero inspired by Hello Kitty. What could be cooler than that?

Hello Kitty + Guitar Hero= Guitar Hero-Kitty Rockin’ Momma

Physics Of Life

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

I hope my son does not read this post (Pshew! He’s still preoccupied with his school projects, thank God!) as I do not condone or encourage truancy. But last week, well, last week was different. Alphonse was downed  by a severe sytemic viral illness that had us worried sick, and a few days later, perhaps from all that worrying, I followed suit. I would’ve taken pictures of the rashes in my face had I been imbued with a little more energy those days. And while I certainly tried to keep up with my household duties despite the fever, joint pains, headaches, and rashes, for the most part, I let my body recover, languishing in the warm feelings of playing hookey for a whole week.

A whole week. That to me was a slice of heaven.

Now that I am all better, I feel like inertia has set upon me. Newton’s First law of Motion tells us that “a body at rest will stay at rest unless an outside force acts on it,” and truth to tell, I still wait for that outside force to lift me from the doldrums. I scan the horizon of my life and don’t seen anything remotely coming. And so I wait.

Tonight, however, I have to rouse myself from my stuporous half-life and walk out the door and be a real human being for a change. Tonight, my Alphonse will be left in excellent care while A and I indulge in family time with just Alex. This boy needs it, I can feel it. And despite the resistance my body feels, despite the wishy-washy half-sentiments about the whole thing, I need to force down the rising tide of panic I feel and be there for him and for A.  

Time to wake up, girl. You are your own external force.

Look, No Hands!

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

What do you do when you want to carry your Kitty baby but like any other multitasking mom, you have other things to do with your hands?

Look at the pictures below and you’ll see how a handy mini-baby/plush carrier can free your hands to do other things.  

(This is what it the plush carrier looks like, sans Kitty.)

Okay, okay, I look a little foolish (if you see me in public, be sure to say hello!) but I like my Kitty so I don’t really mind if anyone stares at me funny. Hhmmmpphh!

(How I Found) The Ultimate Love Connection

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

This is for A, love of my life, who has given me 17 great years of The Ultimate Love Connection. Thank you for loving me even when I am mental, for bearing with me even when I am exasperating, and for sharing with me the best 27 years of my life. We made this happen, you and I.

Happy Anniversary, love.


Sometimes, I wish that I had fallen in love with A much earlier. I think of our five years of friendship before we became a couple, and I regret that we were too blind to see each other as anything else other than friends. A likes to tell me, however, that it is the sum of our experiences that makes us who we are, and  we were led to each other only at the particular moment when we were ready.  Perhaps, changing the past will change the future, and if that is so, I can live with the follies of my youth.

Surviving Mr. Wrong*

Over a gallon of ice cream, my friend and I once pondered about ever meeting the perfect man. We were both embroiled in serious relationships then, two young women in our early twenties, prime examples of independent, strong-willed, tenacious creatures of the nineties. We wanted to be sure that we had what a swank yuppies’ magazine dubbed as “the ultimate love connection.”

It was late December, and we were on night duty at the intensive care ward of a government hospital. We were still too low in the totem pole of hospital hierarchy to warrant our own lounge, and so we made do in a cramped little corner of the nurses’ station, wearily scooping spoonful after spoonful of ice cream.

“What do you think, P?” she suddenly blurted in between mouthfuls of cookies and cream.

“You and he-who-must-not-be-named?” I swallowed the last bit of Oreo cookie stuck between my front teeth. “What of him?”

“You think we’ll last? I mean, we’ve gone through the answers at the back of this magazine and it says we’re doing just well. Not perfect, but it says we’re okay.” She looked at me doubtfully.
“Not perfect, huh? Then again, who has one? A perfect love connection, I mean?”

“Well, looks like you got it all right …” she replied unhappily.

“Uhm … I’m fessing up … I looked at the answers right after I bought that magazine.”

“You did not! Did you? Hey, be serious, okay?”

“Okay, I think you and he-who-must-not be-named are perfect for each other. How long have you been together, five years? Don’t sweat it, girl. You’ll stay together for a long time. You’ve finally met Mr. Right.” And with that, I scraped the last spoon clean.

I was wrong. Dead wrong. Sometime in the “long time” that I predicted, they broke up.

I think of this episode in my life and wonder how I ever thought of myself as an expert in “love connections.” Throughout my adult life, I have spent a considerable amount of time listening to stories of broken hearts, as I have also spent an equal amount of time dishing out well-worn advice for the lovelorn. All these, coming from a woman tutored in the art of romantic love by a guru whose claim to fame is having had the most number of boyfriends by age 25 (I lost count after 49).

My friend and I spent hours on the phone after this most unfortunate breakup. We were each other’s therapists as she poured her heartbreak to me. One day, after months of the most grueling and intensive phone therapy, she asked me how I could be so resilient in the face of adversity.

“Simple, friend. Meet the only woman dumped by the same man twice and lived to tell the tale.”

She gasped. (more…)