Monday, September 27, 2010

Uniquely Me (My Love Story with Books and Literature, at random order)

• I look up words in the dictionary just to see if they indeed exist or how Webster actually defined it. These are really weird or otherwise, unspeakable words. I still do it for fun esp. with the Gen Y and Gen Z terminologies today. Can’t wait to see jejemon in Webster.

• I’ve read the Funk and Wagnall’s encyclopedia from Volume 1 to 25. Of course I didn’t read one page after another though but I chose among the interesting topics per volume. Most of which are on history, famous people, science and geography. Astronomy also fascinated me but the books were way too archaic and this was pre-internet age. I wish though I had a sharper memory.

• Speaking of history, the Philippine History textbook by Gregorio Zaide rank as of my favorite books in high school. I was so affected when I realized the book was given away later as a hand-me-down. I like reading history books only if the author is a great story teller. Otherwise? I’d fall asleep faster than you can say “boo!” too.

• Come to think of it, I’ve read every volume of our entire encyclopedia at home (Science Library and Charlie Brown encyclopedia included). Looking back, I was actually thinking someone has to put them to use. Only my dad and I really liked reading for a hobby.

• I finished reading Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo on the summer before the actual school year started. You can imagine how bored I was at the Filipino class throughout Junior and Senior years. In fact, I was so bored I had to read another book, carefully camouflaged inside the Noli textbook. I was seated at the second to the last row so the teacher hardly noticed. Besides, I had this goody-two-shoes reputation so they never suspected.

• I was not taught how to read. I learned to read before my actual preschool education. I did not go through the phonetic reading stuff and technicalities. The tagalog comic books and songbooks lying around at home (owned by my yayas) came in handy.

• Having said that, you can imagine how hard it was for me when it was time to teach my children how to read.

• My love for reading did not necessarily translate to perfect scores in reading and language/spelling class during my grade school years. GS years were mostly memorization, which I hate. But I got my payback during high school and college days. The perfect scores came during high school English and Literature where you need more analysis of the reading material and essays than mere memorizaton. I also get exempted in my English finals in college. This asserts my hypothesis: It’s always just a matter of time. Hah!

• I can remember the first story book I ever owned. It was a birthday present from the school directress during my preschool day – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Little Mermaid. For a fairy tale, the Little Mermaid was bit too much for a five-year old to handle.

• I never liked reading Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys. Never liked reading any science fiction and futuristic stuff either. I love reality, thank you very much.

• However, ironically, I love Mythology. I still have my dilapidated book on Edith Hamilton’s Mythology which was a required reading from high school. Funny because they are quite fictitious but they have a hauntingly mysterious air. I also thought these are the fairy tale stuff of the early civilization.

• I got hooked reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy long, long, long before Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling made a box office killing by making witches and vampires appear to be these wholesome, cuddly guys/gals next-door superstars. I am biased but Anne Rice’s vampires and witches have these truly gothic, blood curdling and dark mysterious streak. In a more obtuse comparison, Rice is classic; Meyer, Rowling et al (and the growing breed of Meyer, Rowling et al wannabees) are the “Wakasan” version from my childhood komiks memory. And yes, I am NOT part of the Twilight bandwagon. Tried reading it but I found out it is effective only if I wanted to sleep early. Or need a good laugh. Which I might need soon. No apologies.

• I first wore eyeglasses at age six. Those really made me look like a true-blue geek. I had this misguided sense of pride that made me think people think I looked like a geek. Get it?

• My astigmatism was corrected at 2nd Grade. I wore glasses again one year after working in P&G 

• I have to thank my high school friends/classmates (esp. Veronica, Carla and Hya) who loaned me the books that I read. I cannot afford to buy any books then. And so, when I started working, I started buying all the books I missed out reading. Mostly the classic literature. And Anne Rice’s. I also still borrow a lot too.

• My all time favorites: Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone with the Wind (life before Civil war, NOT the star-crossed love story, okay?)

• For mental exercise, I read more of the thin volumes of contemporary paperbacks. And write in my blog.

• The height of unwisdom as an effect of my bookworm tendencies was when my mom caught me reading this book (Sweet Valley High, purely wholesome teen novel mind you) using flashlight while covered by a blanket (so she wouldn’t know I was still awake). Needless to say, she took the book and slammed it onto my head (out of sheer anger, I do understand her-it was exam week) and she took the book (which I only borrowed from a classmate). She forgot to take the flashlight though. I had another back-up book, hehehe.

• To relieve stress during the chemical engineering board exam week, I read cheesy novels every night just before the exam day rather than continuing to cram my brain. I passed.

• Call me old fashioned but despite the onset of e-books that you can download in PCs or your handheld device (which I’ve tried when I still had my Palm Pilot), there is no substitute to the reading experience using real books. Also, I cannot resist skimming the ‘ending’ no matter what. And this is tedious to do in e-books.

• I had this subscription of the Pambata magazine in grade school. In my 2nd grade, I read about the different kinds of scientists. I read about the Chemist and said to myself “that’s what I want to be when I grow up,” having spent summers mixing soil, shaving cream and Old Spice perfume. I was waiting for an explosion. The only explosion I got was my parents’ fuming in anger asking where on earth that foul smell came from!

• During junior HS year, I read about careers in chemistry from my Chemistry textbook. I thought that the engineer working in a plant fitted me better so I changed my mind and went for chemical engineering instead. Who would have thought books could influence my life so much?

• Home is not a home without bookshelves.

• Aside from “home,” my second homes will include the UST Main Library. I probably spent half of my college life there. I also prowled at the U.P. College of Science Library in my early R&D days when we didn’t have internet access at the office and I need a research on magnesium soaps.

• On business trips, I bring books to save me from boredom. Just in case.

• I still love reading encyclopedias until this very day. We bought a complete volume of Time Life books to get Kyla to love reading. Turned out I ended being the one reading them. My daughter has a calling of her own and I had to live with the fact that she is becoming the person she will be.

• A year later when I stopped hoping, Kyla was the St. Scholastica’s Learning Resource Center’s Top Book Borrower for July 2010.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Break the Bank

It is never too early to teach kids the value of money. Kyla and Kevin have their own coin banks for nearly a year now. They earn coins (P10, P5, P1) after doing some light chores at home or whenever they get "stars" (or for Kevin, the Happy Stamps) from school.

We thought of teaching the kids to help doing light household chores rather than just sit around waiting for Yaya to do everything. 

For Kyla, this is watering the plants and the lawn (which she loved doing since she was 2 anyway), fixing the bed, looking after Kevin, feeding Kimby and helping Daddy wash the car during Sundays.

Kevin also have his share! He is in charge of setting the table for dinner. After eating, Kevin knows how to wipe the table and sweep the crumbs off the floor using the 'walis'. After every meal, he brings the utensils to the kitchen sink. He also learned to feed Kimby. After playing with his cars and train, he is sure to "pack away" his toys back to their boxes or cabinet.

Last Sunday we broke Kyla's coin bank which was too heavy to carry by now. Kyla bought more than a dozen books from her earnings and even bought some activity and coloring books for her Kuya Kevin. Next Sunday it will be Kevin's turn and we'll buy him a stuff toy of his choice to add to his collections.

And they have new coin banks in tow!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Night Before the Garage Sale Part 1

September 8, 2010. 1030 am. Life was never the same again.
Destination: Singapore. Yep, it's a great time to be in Asia.

And so now I start gathering up the remnants from a soon-to-be-past-life into one mass of stuff that goes to the so-called garage sale.

No matter how I religously do my 5S at home, we still end up with a hill-ful of collectible this-and-that which no doubt, has to go now.

... and so, if you will excuse me now, I have some sorting and labelling to do!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Date with Kevin

This is actually a subset from Kevin's 10th Birthday.
To make his day special, we had a lunch date at the Mall while they prepare the balloons and gifts for Kevin's birthday dinner later. Kyla obliged to have this as a "Mommy and Kevin day" so she stayed home (it was still a summer vacation) and made us promise to buy her a pasalubong.

We had lunch at his favorite pizza restaurant and bought new toys and clothes. He enjoyed browsing over the cars before selecting one and played with the vinyl balls.

As usual, we had to commute going home but what was fun was that we waited to ride a jeep where we can sit at the front row.
Kevin loved it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kyla's Metamorphosis

The great author Anna Quindlen once wrote her thoughts about parenting and raising young adults- I forgot the verbatim statement but it all boils down to something like...

I've always thought that my children became who they were because of what I did for them. But I realized much later, that they grew up to become their true selves because they taught me a thousand times to back off and let them BE.

I was a young mother when I first read this. 10 years later the fiction became my reality...

I learned to read much earlier than going to pre-school and this started my love for reading. The first book I ever owned was The Little Mermaid (which I thought now was a bit too much for a children's fairy tale...).

I tried to get Kyla to also develop the reading habit but clearly she had other interests in mind (like singing, soccer, bike, scooter and roller skates) which rather supported her Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligent-self. I remembered Anna Quindlen so I decided not to force the issue. Which meant her grades in Reading are off than the rest. So be it.

But I was in for a surprise early this school year. They have this DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read) at school and she started to bring books at school. I also noticed she regularly borrow books from their library to take home for reading. Kyla now spends time to read books at home. One time she even read a book for her Kuya Kevin while they were hanging out together at the garden :-) Last time we went to the bookstore she asked me to buy 2 books. And another 2 for her brother.

But the biggest surprise was when we went to her school for the Parents-Teacher meeting. Posted at the door of the Learning Resource Center was the list of Top Borrowers for the Month by section... Kyla was their #1 avid book reader! No wonder I saw a different book every day in her stash!

I remembered Anna again... yep, she was right. And you can bet her Reading grades are now far better, but that's a moot point really. Reading is all about expanding your mind, seeking and finding that inspiration. At the end of the day, seeing Kyla now develop that genuine love for reading is such a great gift!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Another Daddy-less Weekend

We have a very established Saturday afternoon routine that involve (1) Kevin's Speech Class, (2) Choice of early dinner-merienda, (3) Trip to the Supermarket and Mall for errands, (4) Kids and Daddy's Weekend Campout at the Movie Room.

But not today. Alvin is still in his biztrip. He called last friday evening to break the news that he needs to extend for three more days or so. With some crying bouts from the little girl on the side.

And so back at home on an early Saturday evening with nothing much to do (cant do the campout thing, not a video buff, unless its the old classics), I decided to get that much needed massage.

So I called Dial Zen for a good two hours of massage. I asked the masseuse to allot the last 40 minutes for the kids so that they can have light massage too!

They loved it! Kevin was a bit ticklish at first but got the hang of it. Besides, massage is really good for his blood circulation and helps him relax if he is hyperactive.

We'll do it again sometime!