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Time to go home – Weekend in California Diary

This is really bittersweet. I’ve seen at least a hundred family and friends in the last three days and it hurts me to know I likely won’t see most of them again for at least another year. I love San Francisco. I LOVE SAN FRANCISCO. If I didn’t love my life in Texas so much, I could easily and deliberately miss my flight. But I get it, the bay is my past and Austin is my present, my future. I get it. All the reasons I left are still valid. There’s no turning back now, not even in this moment of weakness.

It’s time to go home, my real home.

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Out of the mouths of grandmas – Weekend in California Diary

Our family visited my 86 year old grandmother today, my sweet, sweet, old Lola whose memory understandably fails her from time to time.

The kids walked down the hall to look for her, but she was sitting on the toilet handling her business with the door wide open. When she saw them she asked in a thick Filipino accent and accusatory tone, “Who are you and what are you doing in my house?” 

She eventually made her way out of the bathroom into the kitchen. She kept asking me where I’ve been. I kept telling her Texas and each time she would look at me like I was crazy, forget what we were talking about, then ask me if I wanted some sugar instead.

It’s funny how early in your life and then again late in your life, you don’t make much sense but it still sounds so cute.

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Hangover – Weekend in California Diary

I just can’t kick ’em back like I used to. I remember when it was nothing for me to drink eight screwdrivers and still walk in a straight line, kind of. Last night I drank six and I don’t remember anything past that. I woke up wearing the same top from last night but my jeans were all the way under the bed, I broke one of my favorite pairs of earrings, lost my make up bag, have no idea where I put my contacts, realized I had been drunk texting my brother back in Texas things that did not make any kind of sense, and even after taking 800 miligrams of Advil I’m still nursing the worst hangover.

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Old friends – Weekend in California Diary

I love old friends. No matter time or distance, you can always count on the ease of picking up where you left off last.

I’m going to have a hard time leaving tomorrow.

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Weekend in California Diary – Filipino parties

At my mother-in-law’s request each of my children and I prepared short speeches that were intended to lead up nicely to the slideshow we also made for my father-in-law’s retirement party. Unfortunately, we never got the chance to recite them.

Two hours into the party and just a few minutes after the Giants beat the Phillies more than half of the guests were drunk, not tipsy, just outright drunk, including my father-in-law. I didn’t think enough people were sober enough to appreciate our sentimental words. I kept imagining drunk people clapping or hooting at the wrong times. Awkward. So I made a judgment call, skipped the speeches, and went straight to the slideshow. It was a good call. As we were watching the show my husband kept asking, “Whose kids are those?” Uuhh, yeah buddy, they’re yours.

Aside from that it was a fabulous, very typical Filipino party. You give butterfly cheek kisses to most everyone there, all 100 plus people. You’re greeted by a huge roasted pig with an apple in it’s mouth laid out on the front of the buffet table. The hall had an occupancy of 100, but we crammed 200 inside. It felt like summer in there. There was a table set aside for my father-in-law and all his barkada, complete with bowls of pulutan lined up neatly on the table, and strategically placed beside the liquor table littered with a dozen Hennessey and Remy Martin bottles.

Three hours into the party they folded up half the chairs and tables to make room for a dance floor where my mother-in-law proceeded to lead a small group of my aunties and uncles in performing the electric slide. An hour after that it was cha cha time. I LOVE CHA CHA TIME. My dad had to dance with my mother-in-law because by this time my father-in-law was too drunk to stand.

When my girls went outside to look for my husband they came back and reported he was “walking his friend like a dog”. What?!@# Apparently, he and his friends were so drunk one of them kept dropping his hat and each time he would crawl on all fours trying to pick it up. At one point, my husband took his friend by the collar when he was on all fours and told the girls he was walking his dog. His friend started barking. Now I know that sounds horrible, but they were drunk as heck, and it was still hillarious.

Closer to the end of the night I walked a few blocks down to visit another Filipino party where I saw my ex-husband, his new family, and all of my ex-in-laws, all of whom I still adore. They were all drunk there, too. His sister kept trying to do some dance, but it looked more like a perverted old man shuffle.. When I gave my ex-husband a hug good-bye he started laughing hysterically for whatever reason and then fell on the wall.  A lil’ birdie told me that when his wife took him home he rolled down the passenger side window and kept trying to touch the cars passing by.

My father-in-law’s party ended at midnight, but a large group came back to my in laws where they cooked steak and continued to drink until 3AM.  The kids slept together downstairs with their cousin, or rather they played strobelights with their Ipods in the dark until I told them to knock it off. I know, Filipinos LOVE to party.

Maria’s Quick Glossary
Barkada: clique
Pulutan: finger foods Filipinos like to eat while they’re drinking such as chicarones and fried salted fish

Rolling credits for the night….don’t forget to click play when you land on the link.
http://www.mixcrate.com/mix/14224/Dj-Davev-Filipino-Cha-Cha-Mix

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The City by the Bay-Weekend in California Diary

I’m back home!!!! I just landed in the bay, home to the award winning BART transit system, clam chowder bowls, heavily graffitied Muni buses, sports fans decked in burgundy or orange and black, congested traffic jams, legendary bridges with exorbitant tolls to match, a skyline so beautiful it brings me to tears, and a quarter million of my (Filipino) people! Gotta’ go, I can already smell the fried lumpia (Filipino eggrolls) in the air!

I LOVE SAN FRANCISCO!!!!!!!!!!

Categories: Uncategorized

Weekend in California Diary – Calipphines

I knew I was in Calipphines when during my layover in San Diego, home to over a 100,000 of my people, I stopped by Starbucks and the Lola behind the counter hollered to the other Filipino barista, “Hoy, Bictor, isa malaking chai tea latte. Mabilis!” (Hey, Victor, one large chai tea latte and fast!”)

Maria’s Quick Glossary
Calipphines: California Philippines
My People: Definition varies, but as used in this sentence refers to my Filipino people
Lola: Filipina grandmother
Bictor: Filipinos with thick accents can’t pronounce the V sound, it always comes out sounding like a B

Categories: Uncategorized

Failures

*This is an old rant from my pre-blogging days.

Every night before I go to sleep I try to console myself for my small failures that day; didn’t pay a bill, ate out for dinner, forgot to mail my sister a letter.  I try to shadow those failures with the minor successes; brushed all the kids’ teeth, mailed out two festival applications, spoke to my client. 

I remind myself that when I wake up it’ll be a new day, another chance to make things right.  I go to sleep thinking of the things I did right and what I did wrong, always checking to make sure that I stayed balanced that day, more successes than failures. I wake up every morning hoping that I can keep that balance tilted towards success that day. 

Every minute of every day I work to keep myself conscious of the decisions I make, always aware that I’m only one step away from being where I don’t want to be but even still some days I just want to sit. I want to wallow in self pity and not get up.  No wonder there are so many failures out there.  People get tired of rejection and disappointments, worn down from all the effort.

I think if I’m not careful, I could wear failure like an old coat- it may not be appealing but it keeps you comfortable and secure.

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The sweetest thing

One afternoon I found my youngest daughter, who was five at the time, sitting by herself on the back porch. I asked her what she was doing.

“I’m missing Daddy,” she answered sadly. My husband had been in Calfornia on business for the last few weeks.

“Oh sweetie, that’s OK. He’ll be home soon,” I replied soothingly.

“Do you think he knows I miss him?”

“Yeah, sure I bet he does. He knows everything.”

She didn’t seem satisfied but she let it go and I went in the house to continue cooking dinner.

When I looked back outside she was perched on the foot step of one of the taller patio bar chairs and yelling into the greenbelt, “DADDY, I MISS YOU. OH, AND I LOVE YOU, TOO.”

Later that evening when my husband called I mentioned what she had done. It was a good thing, too, because she asked him if he heard her. He told her he did, from Texas to California he assured her he heard his sweet girl proclaiming her love for her Daddy.

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Her Mother’s Daughter

My mother’s love is like a knife – it hurts coming and going.  She has so many sides to her and simple she just is not.  I’m never quite sure if I should strangle her or hug her.  Was it crazy to want to do both?  At the same time?  I don’t know. 

There were a lot of times I felt she pushed me to the brink of insanity but likewise she  pushed me just as hard to persevere in a culture that tried to put boundaries on a girl like me.  Time and again as I was growing up she pushed and she pushed.  Sometimes for good things, other times for bad.  She confused me.  I hated her.  I loved her. 

But of everything she’s done – to me, against me, for me – I’ve always known that her love for me is unwavering and constant. 

In my most vulnerable moments it’s her unconditional love that I reach for.

That was an excerpt from one of my short stories. I’ve been thinking about my mom lately and thought I’d post this piece. The story is a tribute to that crazy relationship so many mothers share with their daughters.

If my mother happens to cross this post, I hope when and if she does she realizes I posted it because that last line above is one of my favorite and truest lines I’ve ever written.

By the way, if anyone wants to read the rest of the story, just shoot me an email and I’ll gladly send it your way.

Categories: Uncategorized

A typical weekend

*This is actually an oldie from my pre-blogging days.

Here are some interesting things that happened to me this past weekend.

I had to intervene in one of the kids’ arguments when it became physical.  Each of them was armed with an electric fly swatter, the same ones that jolt you with 1500 volts per zap.

While doing the laundry a small, lumpy brown turd rolled out from underneath one of the piles.  Pathetically enough, I couldn’t determine if it came from one of the dogs or the kids.

I lost the family at Walmart but found them 20 minutes later in the home and garden department sword fighting with the foam floatie noodles used for swimming.  My husband was refereeing.

Lastly, on our way home from Walmart we were at a stop sign occupied by a panhandler.  After my husband passes him some change he leans over and says, “Hey buddy, my wife just farted. It’s pretty bad, can you smell that?”

Yes, yes, I know, it sure is a wonderful life, isn’t it? 

Disclaimer: I did NOT fart in the car, remember I never do that kind of thing in front of my husband. He just thought it would be funny to tell someone I did. What a weirdo.

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Hide and Seek

While working on my youngest son’s family tree project we found these pics. The kids are playing hide and seek at my wedding and the photographer snapped some shots. Yes, I realize we’re *ss backwards, all four of our kids attended our wedding. The oldest one, not pictured, towered over me while he walked me down the aisle.

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What did one four year old say to two five year olds?

October 7, 2010 1 comment

My old neighbors had the cutest little girl. She was only about a year younger than my girls and she had the sweestest four year old lisp. It always made me smile. One afternoon I overheard a conversation amongst the three of them that peaked my interest. They had just finished playing ball and sat in a neat row along the curb beside our house. 

“Whaddya’ wanna’ do now,” Carly asked.

Taylor & Kayla both shrugged in response, “We dunno’.”

Each girl balanced their bent elbows against their knees so they could rest their faces in their cupped palms staring off into the street. After a few minutes Carly started fiddling with her nose. Taylor seemed to be a little bothered, but Kayla didn’t even notice. Carly eventually pulled her finger out of her nose and turned her finger slowly, carefully examining her newfound icky treasure.  About this time her nine year old brother saw what she was doing and yelled for her to put her snot away.

Carly took one last look at her finger and in the sweetest, most innocent voice asked the girls, “Do you want it?’

Taylor made a face and pulled her head back, mimicking the sassy manner she picked up from home. “No Carly,” she instructed, “put that away.”

Carly turned to Kayla and repeat the offer. Kayla looked up and simply replied, “No, thank you.”

At that Carly popped the piece of dry snot in her mouth and stood up, signaling for the girls to do the same, and off they went to play some more. 

Later that evening my husband and I met Carly’s parents for drinks. I had intended to bring it up as soon as we got to their house, but decided to wait until we had a few drinks in us. Three hours and several drinks later I had yet to tell them. Somewhere between the first and fourth drink I started thinking that drunk or sober there’s never really a good time to tell your friends their kid likes to eat her own boogers.

Rolling credits…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byKyvMVFL_U

Categories: Uncategorized

Just when the caterpillar thought his world was over, he turned into a butterfly – Proverb

I watched the Legend Of The Guardians – The Owls Of GaHoole (2010) this past weekend. It’s a computer animated movie about a brave and faithful young owl determined to save the owl kingdom from a group of evil owls. I know, it sounds like the typical children’s movie plot, but it was a cute movie.

My favorite part was when Soren, the main character, is enroute to find the legendary owl warriors, a.k.a The Guardians. When Digger, one of the owls in his group, asks how far their final destination is someone answers from a distance, “When you’ve flown as far as you’ve can, you’re halfway there.” All Digger hears is, “You’re halfway there”.

I love that. Leave it to me to find some deep meaning in a kid movie about owls. It reminds me of all those moments you think you can’t do it anymore, but somehow you find a way to keep going. *Sigh* I’m the human being version of Soren. We both kick *ss! 

*Crooked smile and a wink* You, too, can be a great guardian one day. Some days I feel that good, today just might be one of those days.

Rolling credits…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhA05_FrUeg

Categories: Uncategorized

A walking peep show

I’ve got a tendency to rush through the morning barely checking to see what I look like in the mirror. I also don’t like to admit clothes don’t fit me anymore because 1) I’m cheap and don’t want to buy more clothes and 2) I hate to admit I’ve gotten bigger. I tell myself I’ll eventually lose the weight and fit the outfit again. Typical woman.

That’s just me, my chest might be busting the buttons off my blouse, but I’ll insist the top still works.  Poor buttons are always screaming they’re only a thread away from flying off, but I feign ignorance. And even if my zipper comes undone everytime I sit, I’ll keep wearing them. I’ve perfected the ‘check my zipper as I stand’ move.

Anyway, my office happens to be the second to last down a long hallway so I have to pass almost everyone’s office just to get to mine. Now one morning I came in nice and jolly, even stopped by a co-worker’s office to say hello but when I got to my office I realized that somewhere between the car, through the parking garage, past security, up the elevator, and down the office hallway my blouse had become almost completely undone and there I was with the right side of my chest just hanging out. Victoria’s Secret not such a secret anymore. Yes, yes, I did have a (too small) bra on but still.

My goodies were just hanging out for the world to see. I was horrified when I thought, “My God, my co-workers saw me like this!” I was like the office peep show only no nickel required.

Later that day I pulled aside that co-worker I stopped and chatted with in the morning. No way he didn’t notice my boob hanging out. He’s a real nice guy, pretty well mannered. I just told him point blank, “Hey, we’re friends, right? OK, well do me a favor, the next time you see me with any of my body parts fully exposed can you let me know so I don’t further embarrass myself.”

I think he felt a little uncomfortable and replied, “Well, I guess I was just raised not to say anything that would embarrass anyone.”

I threw up my hands. “Seriously, I’m a big girl. I can take it. I’d rather someone tell me that I look like an idiot early on instead of going through the day not knowing. Look, in exchange I promise to tell you the next time you’ve got a booger in your nose or your fly is open, OK? Deal? Still friends?”  Still uncomfortable, he finally agreed.

These days I’ve been wearing safety pins to keep my too small blouse buttons from popping off. Taping the inside of your blouse, just behind the buttons, with clear packing tape works just as well, but you give off a crinkling sound when you walk. When that happens I just smile and act like I’m trying to figure out what that sound is, too.

Rolling credits…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teB9twb5su4

Categories: Uncategorized

Mommy, who’s cheating on who?

I think I may be a bad mother. Last night I let the girls watch Why Did I Get Married, Too (2009) with me. One girl kept shaking her head saying “lots of hearts getting broken”. The other one was trying hard to keep up with who was having an affair with who.

“Mommy, who’s cheating, Diane or her husband?”

“Wait, but I thought they were the only couple not fighting?”

I had to point out that just because people don’t fight out loud doesn’t mean there aren’t problems.

After the movie ended they both shook their heads and commented in unison and disbelief, “That was too much drama.”

They were still discussing which woman had two husbands and why this morning.

Rolling credits…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnlYZ68ATOA

Categories: Uncategorized

Happy thoughts

I smile at the sound of my children’s laughter. I hold my husband’s hand in the car. I read a book a week. Hold onto the small things, life is good more often than it is not.

Rolling credits…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6zNJ9hZHbw&feature=related

Categories: Uncategorized

The saga continues

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I woke up late this morning and forgot to give the girls money for lunch and their class shirt orders.  I was tempted to ask them to borrow money from one of their 9 year old friends, but my common sense got the better of me. Adding salt to the wound, one of the girls takes this opportunity to remind me this is exactly why I should give them their own credit cards like their friend Penny’s mom did for Penny. Umm, yeah, if I had Penny’s mom on speed dial, I’d tell her to bite me.

*Yes, of course, I changed the young girl’s name. I don’t need other parents knowing I’m shaming them in cyberspace.

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Talk about getting called out…phew!

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

My husband takes pride in our front lawn. He tries to keep it trimmed and waters it lovingly by hand to keep it green. It’s his thing. Although I don’t really like it, my husband has a tendency to water the grass in his shorts, sometimes with his shirt off and baring all of his middle aged man glory. Yes, you have permission to laugh with me.

Taylor, the baby, complained about it for weeks. “Why can’t Daddy keep his shirt on? Why does Daddy have to mow the lawn like that? He’s almost naked, Mommy, who does that? None of our neighbors do that.”

I had to patiently remind her that most of our neighbors don’t even mow their own lawn, they have landscapers. Since we can’t afford one, she’d have to cut Daddy a break.

She still wasn’t happy so I had to ask her, “What’s the big deal, Taylor?”

In complete exasperation she answered, “Daddy has man boobies!!”

Categories: Uncategorized

On licking frogs

September 21, 2010 1 comment

Last weekend I had a mini panic attack because my sweetheart of a dog, Hogan, woke up one morning and wouldn’t stop slobbering. Poor guy only weighs about 4 lbs, but there he was drooling 10% of his body weight every 60 seconds.

A soaking wet towel and one hour later I rushed him to the vet. I was afraid he’d gotten into some cleaning agent I’d accidentally left out, but as it turns out it was more likely he’d just licked a frog. Apparently, when a dog licks a toad or a frog the dog foams at the mouth and drools for HOURS until it gets the nasty frog skin toxins out of its system.

As to where the frogs came from, well, whenever there are heavy rains the creek behind our house  overflows and the following week dozens of frogs start popping up; in our driveway, by our front door, in our garage. Each night there’s even a frog gathering by the street light. Those guys seem to pay homage to bright lights.

Out of curiousity, I pulled out my Merck Manual of Medical Information to find out what happens to humans when we lick a live frog. (By the way, heck yeah I have one of those books at home. I self diagnose all the time. I’m a self admitted hypochondriac.) I couldn’t find anything useful, so I turned to the internet, Wikipedia to be exact, because we all know that Wikipedia is completely credible, right?

No luck there either so I just started scrounging the internet in general and according to several equally credible sites (ask.com, answers.yahoo) humans experience hallucinigenic episodes when licking frogs. Huh..I know, who knew, right?

Rolling credits for the day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD7Mzpw2Ga4

Categories: Uncategorized
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