Archive for January, 2006

Allowance 2 – Teaching kids to be responsible

As I read the comments in my previous post, I noticed that most of those who left comments give allowance to their kids. It made me wonder if I’m the only one who doesn’t. And so I asked five parents here in Winnipeg if they give allowance to their kids.

Mom A doesn’t. She said that once, she gave her son allowance but his classmates would borrow money from him and never paid back.

Mom B does. But her kids get allowance more for extra chores that they do around the house. Most of their needs are already being provided for, but it’s a fun way for them to earn their money and to spend it or save it as they choose.

Mom C doesn’t. Her son does not have interest in money yet. His schoolmates would also borrow money from him without paying back.

Mom D doesn’t. When her kids were in elementary, she gave them money on occasion when they wanted to buy something and she let them keep the change. She also gave them money on birthdays and Christmas. When they turned 16, they took on part-time jobs and she stopped giving them money.

The one dad that I asked does. He gives his kids just enough for snacks or if they don’t bring lunch or if they stumble upon something in the store. With a little money in their pocket, they won’t be out of place with their friends if they happen to go to 7-11 Store and buy chocolates or slurpee.

Like Mom C’s son, my children do not have that much interest in money either. As Mom B said, most of my kids’ needs are well provided for, too.

I noticed that some do give allowance in return for chores. I give my children chores but they don’t get paid for it. Although, I have to admit that if they want me to buy them something big for their birthdays or Christmas, I sort of remind them to be more attentive to their chores.

I do try to instill in my kids’ minds the value of money. They know that we don’t have a lot and they can’t have all the things that they desire. I have also set up a savings account for each child. They put in some of their birthday and Christmas money in the bank. When they want to buy something and I don’t have the extra money, they take it out from their account.

I guess in the end, we, as parents, want to teach our children the value of money and how to handle it responsibly. I don’t think that there is any right or wrong way of teaching them. We all do it differently depending on what works best for us and our children.

Thanks, guys, for all the input.


January 31, 2006 at 11:31 pm 6 comments


“Allowance? What allowance?” Julius said to his 13-year old son Chris. “I allow you to eat my food. I allow you to watch TV. I allow you to use my electricity and use my water.”

I thought that was funny. It was a scene from an episode of Everybody Hates Chris.

It was 1983 and Chris spotted this leather jacket on a display window. Almost everybody at school was wearing leather jackets and he wanted one, too. But he didn’t have any money and he couldn’t really save up for it because he didn’t get allowance.

I don’t give my kids allowance, either. There is no canteen or cafeteria at school and they bring bagged lunches. School is also walking distance from home so there’s really no need for an allowance. I give them money for book orders, hot lunch orders or any other school supplies and fees. I buy them toys and games occasionally.

When Reggie started Junior High, I gave him $5.00 a week just in case he wanted cold drinks from the vending machine instead of his juice box, or when he and his friends wanted to have lunch at A&W. But he barely touched the $5.00 I gave him that first week. I would tell him that if he needed money, just ask me. He never had any need for it. If he wanted a CD, I gave him money for it.

So my kids never really needed an allowance and they never asked for it.

How about you, do you give your kids allowance?

January 29, 2006 at 1:55 pm 8 comments

Fruits galore

I was in heaven last weekend when I saw guavas at Superstore. Of course, I bought some. This fruit has a sweet flesh and tiny seeds that can also be eaten. It was only a few years ago when I started to see guavas here in Winnipeg. The ones that are sold here are as big as apples. The ones I grew up eating in the Philippines were smaller and not as sweet.

A few months ago, I was in the same fruit and vegetable section at Superstore when I saw the balimbing (starfruit). I was so excited then because it was the first time I saw balimbing here. I’ve forgotten what they taste like. And they were also quite big. Twice the size of the ones we have in the Philippines. So I bought a few and eagerly showed it to my kids when I got home. I cut it crosswise to show them the star shape. At first they were reluctant to taste it. When I took my first bite, I told them it was very juicy. The taste was somewhere between sweet and sour, but you don’t really need salt. It was good. Reggie liked it but the two younger ones didn’t care much.

Balimbing is a Filipino term used to describe people (especially referred to politicians) who switch sides or loyalties depending on their needs.

Another fruit that is quite big in size compared to the ones in the Philippines is the banana. Let the picture speak for itself.

Banana, cantaloupe, guava, red delicious apple, star fruit, navel orange.

January 24, 2006 at 10:37 pm 7 comments

Ryland’s tooth

These past few months, Ryland had been asking me when he was gonna have a loose tooth. It seemed that almost everybody in his class had lost at least a tooth. He felt left out.

Finally, a few weeks ago, he had a loose tooth. Boy was he glad! He wiggled it with his tongue. He wiggled it with his finger. He wiggled it all the time. It became looser every day. He couldn’t wait for it to fall out.

Ryan said, “I lost my first tooth when I bit into an apple. It happened at school. I got a loonie (Canadian dollar coin) under my pillow that night. I think Mommy put it there. Because tooth fairies are not real like Santa is not real, right Mommy.”


But why don’t I remember the first time I lost a tooth, or any tooth for that matter? The experience must have been a traumatic one for me. I do remember hearing stories of tying an end of a string to a loose tooth and the other end to a doorknob and then pulling the doorknob away from the tooth to yank it out. I also don’t remember going to the dentist a lot. When I was a little girl, going to the dentist meant having either a tooth filling or having an extraction. Very scary for a young child. Kids now are lucky that their parents have dental insurance and they have the luxury of twice-a-year visits to the dentist for routine check-up, cleaning and even fluoride treatment.

So, we were having pizza for supper last Wednesday while watching “Lost” when Ryland’s tooth finally fell out. I thought it was the pizza that did it.

“No, Mommy, I pushed it with my tongue.”

“Okay, give me your tooth and we’ll keep it in a container like I did with your brothers’ teeth.”

Now, let us see that toothless smile.

Cute! And what’s cool is that I can see the new tooth already peeking from where his baby tooth was.

January 22, 2006 at 9:43 pm 5 comments

Forgiveness and Stress

This post was original published at PINOYatbp.

Last Christmas, I heard someone say, “I still can’t forgive him for what he did to her. He is the reason she died of lung cancer. If he didn’t smoke in the house, she would still be here with us.”

I wanted to jump in and tell the unforgiving person about the Forgiveness course I had taken when I was preparing my youngest son for his First Reconciliation just the previous few weeks. But I thought, who am I to preach about forgiveness? I myself had been having a hard time forgiving somebody who repeatedly hurts me (emotionally). Besides, this unforgiving person is more pious than me and I was not in the mood for one of his religious debates.

There is a saying that goes, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” It’s easier said than done. Forgiving can be a very hard thing to do.

I know, and you all probably do, that forgiving is good not just for the soul, but also for the body.

I read in The Herald, our community newspaper, an article written by Dr. Bruce Naherniak, a chiropractor here in Winnipeg.

He wrote…

“Holding a grudge towards others puts your body into a ‘stress response,’ according to research out of Hope College in Michigan. When people remember past slights…

-their blood pressure increases

-their heart rate increases

-their muscle tensions are higher

Other research has found that stress hormones increase when we can’t forgive and forget. The result is a weaker immune system and possibly impaired neurological function and poor memory.”

He cited that studies have shown that unforgiving people:

-are more likely to develop a health problem

-suffer from increased anxiety symptoms

-suffer from increased paranoia

-suffer increased incidence of heart disease

-have less resistance to physical illness

But how do we forgive someone?

Dr. Naherniak interviewed Fr. Andrew Jarmus from Holy Cross Orthodox Mission for his advice on forgiveness.

1.First, be ready to hurt in order to heal. Sometimes we have trouble forgiving because we are avoiding the negative feelings surrounding the incident.

2.Let go of your right to revenge. You can never make the other person feel exactly like you feel. Getting your ‘pound of flesh’ only prolongs the ill feelings and poisons everyone involved.

3.Remind yourself that they are only human and we make mistakes.

4.An important step is to really wish the person well. We may never have the same relationship with that person again, but we must still wish only the best for them.

Just like shampooing your hair, repeat as necessary.

Forgiveness is a journey. Occasionally the hurt and anger will rise again. At these times, we must repeat the first four steps. The negative feelings may come back but not as intense. Eventually, we will look at the incident with peace of mind and heart.”

I am still on this journey. I wish I could forgive and forget just like that. But it’s tough. I know I should. The stress is taking a toll on my body. Earlier last year, I went to the doctor because of a slight tightening in my chest. My doctor checked me and gave me a clean bill of health. I knew then that I was just stressed out.

I did some researching on my own and I’ve discovered that stress can also cause lower back pains (I’ve had quite a few of this), poor memory (check) and crankiness which is often noticed by other persons before you do (check).

On a recent visit to the dentist for my regular check up, he told me that I am wearing my teeth down – sign of teeth grinding, which is another symptom of stress. Hence, I have to wear a night guard.

I should really start to chill out. I have found out a few tips on how to cope with stress.

1.Take a deep breath.

2.Learn to relax.

3.Make time for yourself.

4.Do something you enjoy – listening to music, reading, painting, drawing, gardening.


6.Eat healthy.

7.Have sex. (wink)

I’ll try to do these as I go on this long journey.

These are the 2 comments from “Forgiveness and Stress” that was published at pinoyatbp.

Duke said on January 24th, 2006 at 8:38 am

I believe that when you forgive and forget, you do yourself the biggest favor. The thing is, it’s not that easy and it does take a toll on your healthi n the long run.

I like your tips! Number seven is the best release (hihihihi)

Patrice said on January 26th, 2006 at 8:36 pm

This is true what you said. Ika nga di ba, a healthy mind (and heart) is equal to a healthy body. Hypothetical but true in some ways. Even if you are physically fit but under a lot of stress, wala pa rin.

In my case, I try to keep in mind what I consider petty offenses and those that I consider major. Unless it involves my family, I try to let it go. No use trying to ponder on petty stuff di ba? Keeping a good disposition and beiing nice to people would help avoid circumstances like these.

This post was updated on July 7, 2008.

January 19, 2006 at 10:19 pm 6 comments

Thanks for the Memories – Revisited

I’ve been feeling a little melancholy these past few days and I thought about another time when I felt sad. Hence, I am re-publishing one of my earlier posts from September 2004. This is one of my favourites.

I bought my washer and dryer at a garage sale about ten years ago. They were still in good working condition after all those years, although the outside of the body now have patches of rust. I changed the washer fan belt shortly after I bought it.

Two weeks ago, my sister asked me if I wanted to buy her washer and dryer since she was buying new ones. Ronald have always wanted to buy a new set of washer/dryer because he claimed that our old ones could be very noisy and they distracted his music listening down there in the basement. He agreed to buy Lina’s washer/dryer. Her new ones were delivered today. I have to get rid of my old ones. I was thinking of giving them away to charity or to any friend who might be interested. But instead, I asked the delivery guys if they could dispose them off for me. They agreed to do it at a reasonable price.

As I watched the two delivery guys carry off my washer with two wide yellow belts strapped on their shoulders, choreographing their steps up and down the basement stairs, I felt a lump rose in my throat. I was sad to let the washer/dryer go.

Once or twice a year, I clean out our storage in the laundry room. Some clothes and stuff – I give away to my sister, or to charity. I don’t have a hard time giving those away. But this time I was really having a hard time letting go of our washer/dryer.

They were one of the first appliances I ever owned. I used them every single week. I was always the one who washed our clothes. They stood there in the basement as I tried to remove apple stains on baby shirts, green grass stains on my children’s jeans, and red chapstick marks on Reggie’s sleeves. They were there when I tried to shake out shredded tissues that were left in pockets and when I tried to soak Reggie’s light grey Power Rangers shirt that turned pink when Ronald did the laundry while I was in the hospital with my second baby. That’s why when I delivered my third baby, I was anxious to get home so that I could sort the laundry myself before he washed them.

I guess it’s the memories that come with my washer/dryer that makes it hard for me to let go. Anyway, those memories will stay with me even though I part with my old rusty appliances. I’m sure that I will make new memories with my new ones.

January 16, 2006 at 12:14 pm 6 comments

The Timeless Music of MJ

My parents loved music. When we were still in Cavite, we had this turntable that played vinyl records. My sister, Lina, who was around 4 or 5 years old then, loved impersonating Karen Carpenter singing Stop, Mr. Postman, waving her hand in front of her face. She also impersonated the young Michael Jackson singing Happy, turning around while she sang.

This was the picture I had in mind while I was listening to Happy in 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Michael Jackson CD. I loved this song and I still know the lyrics by heart. I just wonder why it has sort of a sad melody when it is about Happy.

Sadness had been close as my next of kin
Then happy came one day, chased my blues away
My life began when happy smiled
Sweet, like candy to a child
Stay here and love me just a while
Let sadness see what happy does
Let happy be where sadness was

Some of my favourite songs in this CD are Ben, One Day in Your Life, and Music and Me.

I bought The Best of Michael Jackson CD and Michael Jackson Greatest Hits History Volume 1 when Michael Jackson was all over the news due to the child molestation case. I’m keeping my opinions on this to myself. But I remember Ryan, who was about 9 or 10 at the time, couldn’t look at the TV when MJ’s face is on the news. MJ just looks too scary to him. My youngest son, Ryland, would keep asking me if he was a girl because he had long hair. “No he’s a boy,” I would say. “He’s ugly,” he’d say. “Hey, you shouldn’t use that word,” I’d say.

These two CD’s were on the music rack and I couldn’t help it but buy them. I grew up listening to his music. They just bring back memories. And in order not to confuse my kids, I explained to them that it’s MJ’s talent that I admire, not the person that he has become.

Between the two CD’s, I enjoy listening to Greatest Hits History Vol 1 better. I know most of the songs, some of which became popular during my high school and college days – the days when I discovered love and heartaches. Besides most of the songs in this one are more upbeat than the former.

The slow rhythmic beating of the drum in the intro of Billie Jean always makes me shake my bum even while I sit in my desk. And he gives us a couple of advice in the lyrics.

People always told me be careful of what you do
And don’t go around breaking young girls’ hearts
And mother always told me be careful of who you love
And be careful of what you do ’cause the lie becomes the truth

And I like the catchy refrain.

Billie Jean is not my lover
She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son

The faster beating in the background of The Way You Make Me Feel makes me move my shoulders back and forth. The lyrics remind us how it feels when we are attracted to somebody. I love it when he says…

Go On Girl!
Go On! Hee! Hee! Aaow!
Go On Girl!

The creaking sound of a door opening, the foot steps and the howl at the beginning of Thriller is very clever. I didn’t see a video of Thriller until I came here in Canada in late ’89. I didn’t own a TV in the 80’s and I had to rely on my imagination for the visuals of his songs. Beat It is more upbeat than Thriller. And I think this is the reason why I like the former better than the latter.

All I can say about Bad is that it makes me tap on the keys of my keyboard faster. I pretend like I’m tapping the keys of a piano instead. No, I don’t play the piano.

I used to sing along whenever I would hear She’s Out of My Life on the radio. I was still pining then for a love that I have lost. I could relate to the lyrics.

So I’ve learned that love’s not possession
And I’ve learned that love won’t wait
Now I’ve learned that love needs expression
But I learned too late

I could just feel the pain when his voice quivers at the end of the song.

Damned indecision and cursed pride
Kept my love for her locked deep inside
And it cuts like a knife
She’s out of my life

And don’t you just love the lyrics of Man in the Mirror.

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

And also that of Heal the World. I like the timber of his voice here and the melody.

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me and the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for
You and for me.

In Black or White, he sings …

It don’t matter if you’re black or white.

Why then, oh why, did his skin colour turn from black to white?

I think he really did want to make the world a better place but he just got messed up for some reason or another.

January 11, 2006 at 10:20 pm 17 comments

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