Archive for November, 2005

He is an explorer of music and …

My oldest son, Reggie, plays the flute and he is into jazz music. I was impressed when I heard him tell his flute instructor last year that he wanted to be a jazz flutist. I have shared my sentiments about his passion. When I first realized that he wanted to pursue a career in music, in the Performing Arts, I worried about any rejection he might experience, or the instability of his chosen career. But of course I realized as well that rejection is a part of life, and one chooses a career based on one’s calling, passion, or dreams.

There isn’t a day that goes by that Reggie doesn’t caress that thin silver instrument. Playing the flute has become his routine. I’ve heard him improve as the years go by. He’s become a very good flutist. And I’m not saying this just because I am his mother. His teachers have told me so as well. People have also come up to him and praised him for his excellent performances. I now totally support his passion. After all, who am I to hinder his dreams, right? I am his parent and it is my job to encourage him to pursue his dreams.

So when I learned that my friend Rowena was throwing a retirement party, I saw an opportunity for Reggie to expose his talent to a different kind of audience. Except for the Cool Jazz Festival this past June, he usually just plays for school concerts. I immediately asked Rowena if he could play. She gladly agreed and he eagerly formed a band. The sextet played jazz tunes (which included The Way You Look Tonight, Autumn Leaves, etc. ) last weekend at Rowena’s party. Reggie was so good, and so was the rest of the band. I was so proud of him and I was also happy that my friends finally heard my first-born play.

Reggie wrote this poem two years ago. I have shared in this blog some of his journal entries in Grade 2. As I have promised before, his writing has become a lot better and deeper.

I am an explorer of music and a dedicated friend ©
by Reggie, Grade 9, 2003

I am an explorer of music and a dedicated friend.
I wonder what the future has in store.
I hear the applause of the audience after one of my symphonic successes.
I see my friends and family applauding as well.
I want to become a better musician, exploring every corner and chord of the vast art.
I am an explorer of music and a dedicated friend.

I imagine I’m in the bustling city of Tokyo, jamming with Nobuo.
I feel I’m right where I belong right now, even though I could be someplace better.
I touch people’s lives with the ideas that come flowing through my flute.
I worry my positive outlook in life will change.
I cry when someone close fades away to the gates of heaven.
I am an explorer of music and a dedicated friend.

I understand we must support each other to get through life.
I say every moment in life should be spent with happiness.
I dream of my friends and I impressing a sea of spectators with our musical talent.
I try to use what I’ve learned from the people around me.
I hope for a future as bright as a highly polished flute.
I am an explorer of music and a dedicated friend.

© 2003-2005 Reggie


November 27, 2005 at 8:25 pm 8 comments

How cold is minus 25 windchill?

We’ve had a warmer weather today, minus 18 windchill. But the last couple of days, we’ve had windchill of minus 25. Brrrr.

That is not condensation on my workstation window. That is actually ice that has formed on the glass panes. My desk is right beside it. When it gets cold in the winter, you’ll find me in a cotton sweater, cotton pants with elastic waistband, wool socks and sometimes I cover myself with a blanket. Yup, you can dress as comfortably as want when you work at home.

I try to avoid the icy patches on the sidewalk lest I slip and fall on my butt. But my son, Ryan, can slide gracefully through the ice as if ice-skating and he can glide through without slipping.

The icy roads are very dangerous, though. It can cause many vehicular accidents.

The pile of snow on the sidewalk is as hard as ground.

This block of ice is as hard as a rock.

November 25, 2005 at 10:25 pm 5 comments

The case of the mysterious kisser

“Mommy, is somebody going to kiss me at the party?”

That was my son Ryland asking me this question on Saturday before we went to her Ninang (Godmother) Rowena’s Retirement Dinner and Dance. The last time my kids went with me to a party, one of my girl friends kissed Ryland on the cheek and he didn’t like it.

Ryland couldn’t remember which friend kissed him and so at the party, I asked Elaine, who was sitting across the table, if she was the one who kissed Ryland. No, it wasn’t her.

So, as friends started to arrive, I wondered who this boy-kisser was. My son would not be a victim again.

Ninang Maria, Ryland’s other godmother came, and I invited her to come over to our table so that he could bless Ryland. Blessing or kissing the hand of a godmother is a common tradition among Filipinos.

Maria eagerly got up from her seat. She headed straight for the little guy seated next to me and before I could thwart the “crime,” her lips landed on Ryland’s right cheek.

“Mommy, Ryland has red lipstick on his ear, ha ha ha ha,” Ryan said.

Poor Ryland had that pleading look when he turned to me. I immediately wiped the lipstick off his ear.

By this time, the culprit was already nowhere in sight. She was gone in a flash. I knew that if I just followed the trail – the scent of the food from the buffet table, I would have found her there. But I just decided to pardon her that time. I can’t blame her for wanting to kiss my adorable son.

November 22, 2005 at 10:59 pm 4 comments

I’m not the only one

A couple of weeks ago, I forgot to send my youngest son to catechism with a picture of him and a friend for Show And Tell. Ryland told me about this homework the previous week but I totally forgot it. Well, it wasn’t written on his catechism notebook. So please forgive this forgetful mother.

This past weekend after catechism, my sister, whose daughter, Amica, is in the same class with Ryland, asked me, “Did you remember to send Ryland with his baptismal pictures and mementos?”

“What pictures?!! No, I did not. Did their catechist send them a note? Because he didn’t get one?”

“Yes, it was attached to the yellow note that reminded them that there were no classes last weekend.”

“Well, there was none attached to Ryland’s.”

There wasn’t. And yet I started to count my (small) failings as a mother.

After ten minutes, my dear sister was on the other line.

Ate*, it wasn’t Amica’s. It was Gaudie’s (my nephew) homework. When they came home from catechism that week, I gathered all the children’s notes and they got all mixed up. Ha ha ha.”

Gaudie told her mother that he was the only one in class who didn’t have anything for Show and Tell.

And there I thought that I was the only one who’s failing my children.

Please excuse my sister as well for her shortcomings. She has seven children.

*Ate – what Filipinos call an older sister

November 20, 2005 at 11:35 pm Leave a comment

I can see clearly now

“So, what colour do you want?” Tamy, the optometric assistant, asked Ryland as we looked at the rack full of children’s glasses.

“Black,” Ryland said confidently.

“Are you sure?” she asked again. “We have all these fun colours, blue, green, red…”

“I want black.”


I chuckled. I knew why he wanted black. His Kuya Reggie wears glasses with black frames.

Tamy took a couple of glasses from the rack and showed them to Ryland. There was a round one and a rectangular one. Ryland immediately picked the rectangular one to try on first. I had a feeling that it was the one. Reggie wears a black rectangular frame. I have written before how my younger kids tend to copy their older brother/s.

He looked at the mirror. The glasses looked good on him. But I told him to also try the other one. He did and looked at the mirror again. “I don’t like this. I like the other one better,” he said. He wore the rectangular one and smiled when he looked at himself in the mirror once more.

He looked smart with glasses on. And he knew how to pick a good one. It’s very stylish. Just two nights before he cried when I reminded him of his appointment with the optometrist and the possibility that he would be wearing glasses. He said that he would look ugly. I assured him that of course he wouldn’t.

When we were at the bus stop on our way home, he said that he could read the billboard on the bus that was on the other side of the street. I guess before, he wouldn’t even notice those. It reminded me of the first time I had to wear glasses.

It was about five years ago. I was worried that my eyesight was starting to fail me. And I wasn’t that old. I couldn’t even see my child clearly when we were standing just a few feet apart in our hallway upstairs. I blamed the pink eye (sore eyes as we call it in the Philippines) that I just had. But after a trip to the ophthalmologist’s office, I learned that I only needed to wear eyeglasses.

The first time I wore my glasses, I felt sort of in a whirl. Everything just became a lot clearer. Every colour became vivid. I didn’t realize until then that if I didn’t have my glasses on, everything from about ten feet and beyond was just a sea of fuzziness.

The day I got my glasses, I found myself singing …

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day

If Ryland knew that song, I guess he would be singing it, too.

November 18, 2005 at 11:41 pm 2 comments

Body rhythm and snowstorms

Have you ever noticed how your body rhythm gets out of whack after a long weekend? We tend to sleep in on that day when we don’t have to go to school or work. And I guess that sends confusing messages to our body. So when we have to get up on our usual time on the next business day, we don’t hear the alarm clock when it goes off. Or we just keep hitting the snooze button until it stops and we fall asleep again.

That’s what happened to me this morning. Well, actually, I forgot what time I was supposed to get up, lingered in bed and fell back to sleep. And did you know that that alarm will go off for about half an hour as long as you keep hitting that button?

For some reason, my kids got a four-day vacation this Remembrance Day weekend. And they didn’t have them on the same days. The two younger ones went back to school yesterday, while my 11th grader, Reggie, didn’t have to go back until today. And I made him miss his first class because my body rhythm was out of whack.

Well, at least he wasn’t the only one late for school today. We had the first snowstorm of the season. Poor Reggie had to go out there before we had the chance to shovel the snow. I watched his legs sink deep in two feet of snow in our front yard. Mine did too when I tried to shovel a pathway for my courier guy and cleared our front steps. That snow was quite heavy and sticky.

I learned that buses were stuck and delayed for up to 60 minutes. There are people who weren’t able to go to work or school because they couldn’t get their cars out of their driveways. Garbage pick-ups were cancelled. Even snowplows were stuck in the highways. And if I heard it right, millions of dollars were spent just for today’s clean-up of the snow.(?) What a hassle!

But there’s something about the sight of snow that makes us all excited. I know my two young ones were eager to wear their new boots this morning. Ryland got to play in the snow at recess and Ryan helped make a quinzee* in the school grounds. It also reminds us that Christmas is just around the corner. Soon, I’ll be busy with the Christmas shopping. But for the meantime, I’ll busy myself in putting in more hours of work to get that extra money.

All I can say about all these is that I really feel blessed that I was given the chance to work at home. I didn’t have to go out there in the cold waiting for a bus that had been delayed. I didn’t have to be late for work, or miss a day of work. I can even work long hours in the comforts of my own home. And I am right here when my children comes home from school ready to make them hot chocolate and soup on a cold winter day like today.

* A quinzee is a combination of an igloo and snow cave.

November 15, 2005 at 10:44 pm 3 comments

That’s sad

November 1 is All Soul’s Day in the Philippines. This past November 1, I told my kids that it was a holiday there and that people usually flock to the cemeteries to visit the graves of their loved ones who had departed this world.

Ryan asked me, “Then why aren’t you there? Your dad is dead.”

I told him jokingly, “You really want me to go there today and then come back tomorrow?”

He knew that I couldn’t do that, considering that we are oceans away from the Philippines and I would have to purchase a plane ticket for that trip.

I looked at Ryan and reminded him, “My father died on June 20. Three years to the day before you were born.”

“I know that, Mommy,” he said.

Then Ryland said, “Mommy, your dad is dead. That’s sad.” Then he hugged me.

I hugged him back and said, “I know, but it’s okay.”

Once in a while, Ryland would realize that my father is already gone and then he would do what he just did. He’d hug me and say, “That’s sad.” And I would say, “I know, but it’s okay.”

Two days earlier we were talking about how I saw his friend Dragan and his Mom and Dad and brother Victor at the grocery store. They said hi to me and the two kids waved goodbye when they saw me again before they left the store. I told Ryland that I like his friend and his family. They seem to be really nice people.

I told my kids about my cousin Victor. He was a sailor and he went missing in the Bermuda Triangle while aboard a ship in the 1970s. We never found out what happened to him. Ryan said that he could be alive somewhere and raising a family of his own. That’s also what a fortune-teller told his mother (my aunt) many years ago. But it's most likely that he had died and had been buried down there under the sea. When I finished telling this story, Ryland said, “That’s sad.” And I said, “I know, but it’s okay. It happened a long time ago.”

Ryland is very sweet and compassionate. And it’s really sad that we lost these two loved ones too soon. Telling stories about them, especially to my kids, who never knew them, is my way of honouring and remembering them.

November 13, 2005 at 8:27 pm 3 comments

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