Thursday, August 30, 2007

Work at Home Mom: Speaking at the 28th Manila International Book Fair

A welcome break from my blues was the invitation I received from Read or Die to be a speaker in their panel on Ang Bagong Panitikan (New and Emergent Literatures) at the Manila International Book Fair Function Room B on September 2 at 2:15 pm. I will be discussing Filipino romance novels. (Oh, the Book Fair is ongoing at the World Trade Center at Roxas Blvd.)

What excites me most are the panelists I will be conversing with: Eugene Evasco on Filipino children's literature, Carla M. Pacis on Filipino young adult fiction, Winton Lou Ynion on Filipino literature in the vernacular, Randy Valiente on komiks, and Glady E. Gimena - a very good friend of mine - also on Filipino romance novels. Check out their profiles. I am really looking forward to a very interesting exchange of ideas.

Everyone is invited to come converse with us. The organizers say it will not be a structured series of talks but an open discussion with the audience. It should be fun.

Also check out Read or Die. According to their emailed invitation, they are "a group of book lovers and readers whose goal is to help invigorate book reading culture in the Philippines through monthly discussions, sponsored talks on reading and literature, establishing social networks with other like-minded organizations, and the advocacy of programs specifically aimed towards promoting literacy and maintaining a high profile for reading for purpose and for pleasure." They "encourage public interest in and and appreciation for different kinds of literature, especially writing produced by Filipino authors." Whether you be an avid reader, a writer, an illustrator/graphics designer or a publisher, this group and their site should be a treasure trove.

Read or Die even put up a special website for Ang Bagong Libro - covering their participation (which is extensive and impressive) in the 28th Manila International Book Fair. My panel is only one of several they are organizing, and I am definitely very much interested in participating in the other discussions, as well, as part of the audience. Check out the topics, panelists and skeds on their site.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Checking In

I can't believe it's been 15 days since my last post! Things have been quite draining at home and I'm just tired out with no energy left to write anything. Even my email has been left unattended. So sorry, everyone.

Our landlord had to have our apartment unit treated for termite control. For our family and pets' health, we moved to the empty unit next door for several days. This unit just happens to be the one my Mom used to occupy. It's the same unit I didn't have the heart to empty after she passed away last May. My husband, B, had to do the packing. Until now, I still haven't sorted through her things which we temporarily parked at my parents-in-law's place. And then we had to move into her apartment.

True, the landlord has since had it repainted a different color and that helps a little. Still, I find myself quite numb and disoriented. Perhaps it's my psyche applying some self-anaesthesia against pain? It's not just me, either. Our youngest, C3, also cried her heart out on our first night here, and I'm sure everyone in the family has a heavy heart despite the cheering up they try to do for me.

There was nowhere else to go. The moving was tedious enough even just next door - what with all the must-haves of daily life for a family of five with 3 kids in school and 7 pets! And we just brought the essentials. Everything else was just covered with old curtains and old sheets.

And then our apartment unit's second floor boards were found to be in need of repair. So repairs are being made and we had to extend our refugee status.

The only productive thing I'm doing - and my life-and-sanity-saver - is taking care of Belch. It's like taking care of a toddler. When my kids were babies I smelled of baby barf all the time. Now I smell like a puppy all the time!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Work at Home Mom: Thrilled With Our Eldest Daughter's First Professional Byline

Please indulge this Mom as I once more rave about one of my kids. The August issue of Girlfriend magazine (Philippines) carries an article written by our eldest daughter, The CityLifeStylist. The article is on dealing with the situation when the woman earns more than her man.

I was so excited upon seeing C1's very first byline in a professional magazine. You see, she's just 18 and is still in her third year in Communication Arts and Advertising.

Girlfriend mag has also assigned her to write the cover story for the October issue. Aside from that, a new magazine to be published by Manila Bulletin and called Sugar Sugar has also asked her to write for them.

In addition to writing for print, she has also been asked to write for a new TV program for and by students to be launched by Studio 23.

Multitasking to the max seems to be this young lady's preferred lifestyle. She's also in the dean's list and is a student leader. She's co-head of their radio organization in charge of the in-school radio station broadcasting regular programs to students, and is internal vice president of their Communication Arts and Advertising Society.

Communication has always been her passion. She wrote her first poem at age three. It goes:

Cat I see
Here or there
Happy the cat
There or here

At age six, she wrote:

Life is good
Life is bad
Life is everything

Her younger brother, C2, is two-and-a-half years younger. When C1 was in preschool she taught him to read, write and count. We did not have to teach him any of those. C1 did so well as a teacher that when he was enrolled in preschool he was found to be far advanced for his age in reading skills. He was, therefore, given reading materials already meant for graders.

We think C1 is an old soul sent to be our teacher. We think all three of our kids are old souls sent to be our gurus even as we are tasked to take care of them.

I am awed by my children's gifts and the blessings they are receiving. I am thrilled to see them happily blossoming as they are enjoying the continuous development of their potentials. B and I have really been blessed with these wonderful kids.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Work at Home Mom: Wacky Mom and Rainqueen21 Tag Me

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Wacky Mom Ev has tagged me for the 10 Question Interview.

The Instructions: Remove the blog from the top, move all blogs up one, and then add yourself to the bottom.

Homespun Honolulu
Who’s Yo Mama
Life in the Fast Lane
Life is Murphy’s Law
Manila Mom

Coincidentally, Rainqueen21 also tagged me for "If You Have $1,000,000.00..." with the following instructions:

Proposition: If you Have $1,000,000.00…………………………

Requirements: continue above sentence

Tag Mode: 5 bloggers

I decided to combine the two memes in this post. Here are the questions:

1. What were you doing ten years ago?

In 1997 I was going full blast writing romance novels more than anything else.

2. What were you doing 1 year ago?

Among the saddest times in my life: I was mourning my Dad's passing and taking care of my Mom who was already very sick, too.

3. What are five snacks you enjoy?

Nuts, dark chocolate, fresh fruit, vanilla ice cream with corn flakes, chilled soya milk

4. What are five songs you know the lyrics to?

This is weird because I can't seem to retain or even get the lyrics to songs except for oldies that my Mom used to listen to and sing to me when I was very young.

- Stranger In Paradise (She said it was my Dad's favorite. She'd sing it to me almost every night.)

- Love Me Tender

- Wooden Heart (These two by Elvis were back-to-back in a 45 rpm record that my Mom played again and again every day when I was a little girl. No wonder I still can't get the lyrics out of my head.)

- Hawaiian Wedding Song (Obviously, my Mom loved Elvis.)

- Never On A Sunday (Mom considered this a naughty song and was always laughing whenever she sang it to me. I think she said it was sung by Connie Francis.)

5. Five Things You Would Do If You Were A Millionaire/ If You Had $1,000,000.00:

I'm listing the things other than what we would be working for anyway even without those millions:

- Build our dream home with the luxury of space, space, space along with enough storage for all our can't-live-without clutter, an indexed library to keep track of all our books, enough room for more pets, a lawn surrounded by trees, plus adjoining lots where the kids can build their homes later if they want to (I'm dangling free babysitting as bait!)

- Hire a driver so that B won't have to be the one driving all of us around, and so I won't feel so guilty not learning how to drive :)

- Travel with the family every chance we get to see as much of the world as possible

- Set up various sources of passive income to spend as much time as possible just enjoying the family

- Support the education of as many young people as we can

Well, I can dream, can't I?

6. Five Bad Habits:

Hmmm...it's hard to trim the list down to just five :D

- Staying up till almost dawn then sleeping till noon or even past

- Not having breakfast and, sometimes, lunch then eating a lot at night

- Procrastinating when I don't enjoy doing something...like exercise!

- Being oblivious to the world when immersed in a book, and not stopping till I finish it

- Getting lost surfing and enjoying it so much that I forget what I was supposed to be looking for in the first place

7. Five Things You Like To Do:

- Just hanging out with the family
- Pigging out with the family
- Reading (print and online)
- Writing
- Watching movies (theater, dvd/vcd)

8. Five Things You Would Never Wear Again:

- a hula skirt with a bare midriff (Last time I wore this was on stage in high school.)

- hot pants (Again...high school, when I had never even heard of the word "cellulite".)

- skintight clothes (Not worth the extreme dieting and obsessing over every millimeter)

- a girdle (I can't believe I endured this for years.)

- sky-high stilletos (Oooh, i'd still love to wear them but my feet disagree with me)

9. Five Favorite Toys:

- laptop
- Nokia 9500, because it has Word for when I don't have the laptop
- digital camera, for family memories
- TV and dvd player
- our pets!

10. Five Things You Hate To Do:

- Getting all sweaty outdoors (Don't take me camping!)

- Exercise (Even when it's indoors; I only enjoy Fitness First for the sauna and steam room after the workout.)

- Waking up early (I only do it if I really have to, like for an appointment.)

- Routine housework

- Being away from the family, or having any member of the family away - like out of town

Now you know. I'm a lazy family-clinging couch potato!

So let's hear the deep dark secrets of the following bloggers I tag: (You may do just one or both of the memes above.)

Trinity of Female-Gamer
Sandy of PinoyNetwork Blog
Dondi of 99% Wife & Mom...1% Everything Else
Claire of The Sunny Side of Things
Rachel of Heart of Rachel

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Work at Home Mom: Being Mom

I've been offline being a mom. When some sort of crisis hits, blogging just has to take a backseat for a while.

Our youngest daughter, C3, had her 11th birthday last July 28. She was out of sorts during the days leading to her birthday and, at first, we thought it was all because of the rollercoaster of emotions over Li'l Fart. We were hoping that having Belch would help her through.

It turned out that she was getting emotional over something else. It was her first birthday without both maternal grandparents. It was like all her hurt over their passing (May 19, 2006 and May 11, 2007) spilled out.

It wasn't just one dramatic episode. It was more like days of deep sadness and listlessness, very low energy and not knowing what could provide solace.

Perhaps Belch picked up on the general emotions prevailing and he also fell sick, having loose then bloody stools. We were thrown into a panic but, thankfully, another round of deworming and antibiotics worked immediately.

Caring for Belch somehow distracted C3 but I was even more worried because if anything bad had happened to the puppy, she would have been more devastated.

Belch is fine now. C3 is better but we're still spending a lot of time together just hanging out as a family to smoothen any remaining emotional rough patches. It takes a lot of heart to heart talks interspersed with light moments and wacky moments. We go malling, watch movies, eat out, buy dvds to watch at home, stay up late watching them, and spoil the new baby Belch.

She has been absent from school but, thankfully, the home study program is geared toward adjusting to exactly this kind of personal situation. It's not like she has missed anything because she does her modules at home and just takes tests at school.

It's difficult to see your kids hurting. If only we could protect them from feeling these heartaches, but we can't and we shouldn't because it's God's way of guiding them through life's lessons. We can only be with them to softland the pain and share our own lessons learned. In fact, we're also learning together.

These are bittersweet times because through the heartache we feel even closer as a family.
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