Getting to know me Archives

March 15, 2008

A Birthday List

A friend of mine turned 60 early this year. He came up with this bright idea. Wait, he always has bright ideas and this is just one of them. And I am stealing it for this blog. :) And I am even using his words here (verbatim in some areas)...

He decided that he wanted to do 60 things that he has never done before. Kinda like the Visa ads with lists of things to do in your life. And copycat that I am, want to join him on this journey? You can too........ Sure you do!!!!

So you are not 60. If you are turning 30, make it 30 things, if you are turning 48, make yours 48, etc...

Simple guidelines:
1) Time period is from your 60th birthday to the day before your 61st (not the January-December 2008 calendar year)
2) No one category eg. new restaurants tried can exceed 10% of total.
3) Feel free to go beyond the 60 things.
4) You do not have to come up with a list to get started. Things will fall into place so take credit for them. But it's okay to have some "goals".
5) Have fun with this year.

We need your help with the name for the list. "Bucket List" is too depressing and overused. If you have an idea pitch it to me, ... hmmm... via comments?

Blogging is one on my list, so I am off to a good start ... :)

March 24, 2008

Three Things I Learned From My Grandmother

I grew up with my maternal grandmother. My parents and siblings lived close but somehow I grew up / lived with my Grandma. I loved it!

Thinking about Brenda's lists of Three Things... inspired me to think and ultimately wirte about what I learned from my Grandmother... and perhaps later about other significant figures in my life -

1.Strong Women - Not a recent invention. With talk about strong women, women empowerment, etc. these days; my grandmother epitomized all these looooong time ago. She was a single mother before it was common place. Well, in the Philippines it is looked down on if one is a single parent, even at this day and age. My maternal grandfather left my grandma early on the marriage, so Grandma raised thier only daughter alone.

She held her head high as it was not her choosing to be left by her veterenarian husband. She did what she could, raised and sent her daughter to college when she herself was illiterate. She managed her farm and lived off the income of the farm.

2. Girlfriends are important.. Grandma had a couple of real close gal pals who hang out at her home. They would cook together, gossip, smoke, (yes, smoke), and even had sleepovers and lots of laughs. One is never too old to have sleepovers. I often wondered what they talked and laughed about.

3. Chocolate is good with and on everything.. There was always some form of chocolate in grandma's house. Lucky me. I got to have some too... We would have hot cocoa anytime of day... Yummy. She actually had some cocoa plants that bear cocoa in her farm.

She passed away in 1973 a couple of months after I got married and immigrated to the U.S. I still miss her and think of her every now and then. I want to retire on her farm one of these days. The farm is waiting for me...

March 26, 2008

Lacking in Self-control and Self-discipline

I know I need to be more self-disciplined. Monday was another example. A few friends called and invited me to go with them to an Indian casino. I am all for supporting Native American causes, but perhaps not this way. I am all for Native self-sufficiency but I maybe going about it the wrong way... I thought I was doing my part! Well, after some arm twisting (hardly any), off I went with the group.

Well, I played slots. I know no one wins.... ok, hardly anyone wins... although Palma and Brad have been known to win some per Palma's blog.

I went from one slot machine to another - no luck. I even tried playing one called Early Retirement. I thought the name could possibly bring good karma. But that did not happen.

One of my gambling companions said that the lunch buffet was great and only costs her $7.95. I do not know what she was talking about because after carefully studying my wallet when I got home, my lunch buffet cost me $157.95! That was what was missing from my stash!

I really need self discipline... as Kenny Rogers said... know when to fold them...Maybe I should stop playing penny slots... Maybe I should stop playing slots - period! But I am going to South Lake Tahoe this weekend (on pretenses of playing in the snow?). I am going to start practicing on that self discipline next week.

April 22, 2008

Six Word Memoir

I thought about this when Jill first posted this on her blog and once again after Deborah posted it in one of the forums. I am not the most original or creative one, so I thought about what it would be for me...

Here are two that I have been toying with ... not my original thoughts, of course, but I thought these fit me... I teach students who are children of newly immigrated families. So my classroom is pretty diverse culturally and language-wise. I thought the six word sentence below is appropriate for my work. It also carries over to travels - when I step into lands where the language is "foreign" to me... Examples Japan and France... hmmm ... smiles go a long way -

Everyone smiles in the same language


To teach is to learn twice

The sentence above is very appropriate in the work that I do and in my life goals... I am always a learner - pursuing something all the time...

July 1, 2008

Screamy Memey

Screamy memey

I stole this meme from Softdrink's blog, a long long time ago. I agree, Jill, it has a cute title. Oh, I think I sort of asked Jill's permission to steal this and use it when I am in need of a topic. But that was a long time ago and I need a topic today.

1. Last movie you saw in a theater? I hardly watch movies because the ADHD in me makes it difficult to deal with when sitting for long periods of time is involved... But last night I watched Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's at the old Stanford Theater in Palo Alto. The theater itself is an old awesome structure. There is an organ player that comes and play the organ after each movie... Great expereince.

2. What book are you reading? Boring stuff - Educational Research by Creswell. Does that even count?

3. Favorite board game? Scrabble. I love word games.

4. Favorite magazine? Anything about travel and exotic places.

5. Favorite smells? Chocolate chip cookies in the oven, Hot cocoa, ok anything chocolate

6. Favorite sounds? Baby Mikey's trying to talk

7. Worst feeling in the world? Worrying about anything or worrying about my kids or any of the people I love

8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up? I think of work. Is that sick or what? But then I also think that it would be nice if I only had to go to work as a hobby.

9. Favorite fast food place? In 'n Out Burger, L and L Hawaiian Barbecue

10. Future child’s name? God forbid.. I should not even have to worry about that! Grandchild maybe ok - but I should not have to decide on names.

11. Finish this statement. “If I had lots of money I’d….?" all my student loans, travel, open a school in the Philippines with state of the art facilities and materials, and finally I would only go to work if I wanted to and treat work like a hobby.

12. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? No.

13. Storms - I hate it

14. Favorite drink? Diet coke, any time of day. Bad habit.

15. Finish this statement, “If I had the time I would….”? If I have time, I would finish this dissertation.

16. Do you eat the stems on broccoli? yes

17. If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice? I have been thinking of dyeing it totally gray.... but I am too chicken to just go for it. And if I don't dye, it is a yucky salt and pepper.

18. Name all the different cities/towns you’ve lived in? Samboan, Cebu, Phillipines; Cebu City, Phil.; Yap in Micronesia; Palo Alto, Ca.; San Jose, Ca.; Fremont, Ca. Short terms, Manila, Chicago, Atlanta, Tucson.

19. Favorite sports to watch? Not watching sports

20. One nice thing about the person who sent this to you? I stole this from Softdrink. She did not send it to me. Softdrink is an avid reader, funny in her blogs, and not afraid to travel solo.Ok, that's more than one - but I can't decide which one to feature.

21. What’s under your bed? Right now a rolling backpack that I need to pack for the short July 4th trip to LegoLand with the kids.

22. Would you like to be born as yourself again? Sure, but I'd choose to be a rich b#*%)

23. Morning person, or night owl? Morning but I liked Softdrink's answer - "Neither. I'm a 10-2 person." LOL

24. Over easy, or sunny side up? Over Easy

25. Favorite place to relax? on a beach somewhere in maui or on the lawn at Jardin Luxembourg

26. Favorite pie? Apple. A la mode. Oh and Pecan too.

27. Favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate with caramel, fudge, and sprinkling of peanut butter cups chuncks.

28. Of all the people you tagged this to, who’s most likely to respond first? I'm not tagging anyone

August 6, 2008

Homesick for Samboan

I am pretty content with life and really happy about being a transplant from the Philippines to California.

Then one of my cousins sent me a series of pictures she took of my hometown. Homesickness sat in! I miss Samboan, Cebu. It is in the middle part of the Phillipines; about an hour by plane from Manila. It is where I was born and where I spent my elementary school days. It is a pretty peaceful place... everyone seems to be related to me... and can potentially know everything about me...Inspite of that, or inspite of it being small and confining, it has some awesome assets... like this sunset...


Continue reading "Homesick for Samboan" »

August 21, 2008

By The Sea

I grew up in a little town by the sea. I have not been home in about 3 or maybe 4 years. My relatives are torturing me. My younger cousin and neices sent me some pictures of my favorite part of that town called Samboan. Here they are enjoying the sea....


Continue reading "By The Sea" »

January 22, 2009

Obama Mania #1 - Hello from SFO

I had the opportunity to witness the historic event of the Inauguration of the First African American President of the United States... So here is where the story starts -

Hello from SFO. Yes, that is where I am at this moment. After a very hectic couple of days, I am on my way to Washington D.C. – my trip to witness the historic presidential inauguration of President elect Barrack Obama – don’t you love just saying that name…


Getting here has been one hectic journey, so an hour and a half of idle time at the airport is such a welcome.

I had to prepare for a week’s worth of lesson plans… I was trying to be even more thorough because a dear friend of mine, Ellen, is subbing. Most likely, I have over planned and I hope the poor dear is not going to try to do everything I put in those plans… I wanted the “just in case there is a gap time for those 5 year olds” covered so Ellen won’t have to deal with behavior issues.

Continue reading "Obama Mania #1 - Hello from SFO" »

July 14, 2009

Happy Bastille Day!

In celebration of Bastille Day or perhaps to console myself for not being in Paris, I purchased some place settings -


Cute, yes?

December 24, 2009

Simbang Gabi - Christmas Philippine Style (Tradition)

The pastor at my church invited parishioners to attend Simbang Gabi. My pastor said he is Indian by birth but Filipino by choice. :) No wonder, I loved him the first time I heard him celebrate mass one Sunday - some two years ago. Oh by the way, Simba means "going to church" and gabi means "night".

This is my church, St. James at 5:30 AM. Our Simbang Gabi started each morning at 5:30.


Anyway, Simbang Gabi it one of the oldest Filipino traditions. It is when Catholic churches open their doors before the break of dawn to celebrate mass for consecutive nine days in anticipation of Christmas. It is likened to a nine-day novena which traces its origin to the Spanish Misa de Gallo.

At my parish Simbang Gabi started December 16th and ended this morning. Mass is offered as early as 4:30 AM. In the Philippines. Church bells ring to announce the pre-dawn mass. Here at home, I was awaked by the alarm clock on the cellular phone. :)

I remember Christmas in my childhood as I see parols (Christmas lanterns) used in church. Here is sample of a parol... not what was hanging in church though.


After mass, small breakfast is served with a sampling of Filipino food, such as lumpia, pancit, etc... Yes, right in the church hall, breakfast was served for hundreds of people attending. In the home country, families gather back at their homes and feast on various delicacies, such as bibingka, and tsokolate na mainit (hot chocolate).

The ritual somehow reconnects me to my roots. Nostalgia sat in as I heard the Christmas songs sang in Tagalog as well as some of the hymns during mass. Now, I am missing the Philippines.

January 4, 2010

Thyme for Tea

One day last week, while on winter break, one of my retired friends asked me to meet her and another friend for lunch.

We headed over to Niles area... a section in Fremont where businesses are mainly antigues shops and the ambience is Old Town.

We walked around Niles for a little bit and ended up at Thyme for Tea. It is a charming little tea place in the middle of an antigue shop.


Customers can use any one hat from the abundant hat collection that they have in the corner. I guess the fancy hats add to the tea ambience.... But these two kids came all decked up for their afternoon event.


I thought she was just lovely.


Here is my plate of tea sandwiches.


My retired friend, Celmira enjoying her tea.


After the tea we stopped at a shop where I found this. (When pigs fly) :)


An enjoyable afternoon. Must do this more often, Must go back soon.

February 19, 2010


Many of my blogging friends post "Gratitude Friday" entries. I saw this quote and thought it was appropriate.

"Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty."

--Doris Day

I am indeed so full of gratitude for family... This being my birthday month... I am rich with loving friends and family who continue to celebrate my birthday.

This photo is of my grandbabies at the Monterey Bay Aquarium... boys I am most grateful for!

April 2, 2010

Holy Week

When I was growing up in the Philippines, Holy Week was really observed with sanctity. Now, it seems like just another week on the calendar.

Anne of reminded me that today, Good Friday is the reason for the celebrations coming up on Sunday. Sometimes we or I do conveniently forget the reason.


last Sunday, to start Holy Week, St. James had palms all over. Palms were distributed to the congregation.

I started out observing Holy Week by attending Palm Sunday services. I was glad to see one of our students actively participating in the children's choir. The new pastor also made the celebration interesting by having the congregation start the service out in the grotto and we all followed him in a procession to continue the mass inside the church.


Then my maddening week followed... It was spent hosting an Open House (school-wide) and creating a list of Earth Day Fair activities for everyone to sign up prior to spring Break. Next time, I am no longer volunteering.. famous last words! ... sitting on my hands.

I hope to go to church today and observe Good Friday services... I missed Holy Thursday and the washing of the feet ... I went for a mani-pedi... a personal 'washing of the feet' of sorts... ok, I am being sacrilegious... couldn't help myself... I hope I am not going to hell for this. :)

I am looking forward to Easter with Anne's reminder of the reason for the celebration.

Here is to a blessed weekend to everyone. May your season be peaceful, calm, and spent with loved ones.

April 19, 2010

An evening of International GLEE

The University of the Philippines Chorus is in California. I purchased some tickets and invited four teacher friends to go with me and listen to their live performance. Having never heard of them before, I realized I was taking a huge leap of faith asking busy people to spend their Saturday evening listening to "who knows what this sounds like".

(Sorry, the photos are blurry but we were seated far away and the camera zoom does not do its job well :))

So off we went. I have never seen so many Filipinos assembled in one place here in Fremont. I did not realize there's so many of us here.

Luckily for me, I did not have to apologize for the evening, as the chorus was really good.


They sang some spiritual songs first. The second portion were all songs in Tagalog. And the last one were internationally popular songs. I did enjoy the evening and was glad to have had the opportunity to reconnect with my home culture.

Here are a few of the members of the chorus, up close. This was taken as were leaving the concert hall. Good times!

April 24, 2010

Photo Hunt - Addiction



My addiction started some 12 or so years ago. Now I am totally AOL dependent. I can't give it up. The positive side of this addiction though is that I have meet so many wonderful people through this venue.


My second and present is addiction is:


This is also a positive for me because I stay in contact with relatives in the Philippines and with friends from all over the world. So cool.

Or perhaps I am just making excuses and thinking they are positives, like any addict does. :)


May 29, 2010

Photo Hunt - Memorial


Photo Hunt Memorial - this was a bit of a challenge for me. I know there's a lot of Memorial Day opportunities out there... but could I find any photos in my file? No.

But I have these photos! So here is my take on it. -

Every Mothers' Day weekend, Stanford University puts on a POW WOW. I have been going for about 10 years. (I used to run the Native American Studies in my district, hence the interest.)


Most POW WOWs are done in honor of someone significant in the Native community or in memory of someone important... Example indicated in this year's Stanford POW WOW flyer.


I love going, to see the Native community in full regalia. I can appreciate the efforts, hours, and love put in to making their regalia. Beautiful! Exquisite bead work! Awesome!


Love to see the dances too-

My daughter, Tracey and I go for the food too. We love Fry Bread.


And Tracey and I buy jewelry from the Native American artisans too. :)


July 19, 2010

Hotel Des Arts - Reunion Venue

After searching for reasonably priced hotel, the reunion planning team came to a decision to use Hotel Des Arts as our reunion venue.

The hotel is a "European" style hotel, another way of saying the rooms are pretty small but the price is right for us, the location great... and the staff willing to work with us.

(Photo from Rose's collection)

Hotel Des Arts is located close to the gates of San Francisco's Chinatown, a couple of blocks from Union Square and the Powell Street Cable Car turn around.

The rooms are painted by various commisioned artists, so each one is different from another.


My suite was adorned in some girlie designs...this is on the wall of the front room of my suite... some girl on a sailboat.


... one wall had vintage dress patterns decoupaged to the wall. I loved it... so did some friends who used my room for many photo ops... as did these two hotel guests who stopped by - curious of the source of the noise, laughter, and giggles.

One of the bedroom walls... cute, eh?




(I could not find Elizabeth's photo using the same wall for background... it would have completed the Los Angeles contingent.)

Hydie, on the other hand, had the graffitti walls. She said, it was a scary room that necessitated some wine consumption before bedtime.... I on the other hand, did not need excuse for the open bottles of chardonay nor for the uncorked cabs. :)

Lita's scary room.

At the end of our stay, our reunion group was invited to leave our signatures on one of the walls in the graffiti roo m.... We leave our mark! Yeah!

August 4, 2010

Tour of San Francisco - Part Deux

Tracey, our tour guide, continues narrating some relevant trivia/info about the city she loves.

While at Golden Gate Park, we stopped at the DeYoung Museum. We took advantage of the 360 degree views of the city of San Francisco the De Young museum tower had to offer. (I am noticing how big our purses are. haha)

Danita wanted us to ponder on Monet. :)

From there we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. Stopped at the Vista Point on the Marin county side of the bridge.


It was a pretty windy day... with the bridge partially covered by the famous San Francisco fog.
Wind, chill, nor fog were no deterrents ... not to those who wanted to pose for photos! :)

Sausalito was the lunch spot for the group. Some went shopping, others went sightseeing, and enjoyed lunch at different places. I opted to treat our tour guide, Tracey a lunch at the Spinnaker. Nice.

Lunch was great. This was her "pay" for being our tour guide. :) She does not charge very much. ;)

Some candid shots of the girls in Sausalito - from Danita's files -



Done so soon? Almost...

Continue reading "Tour of San Francisco - Part Deux" »

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Funny is the previous category.

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