Posts filed under ‘Life is a game’

Basketball tournaments start


Junior high school basketball tournaments started this week.  My son, Ryan, made his school team.  And it’s been a very busy week.  Five games in four days.  We have been particularly very busy today, Saturday.  He played in two games and we had dentist appointments for me and all three kids in between.  We started the day at 8:30 a.m. and I only got home at around 5:30 p.m. after I had done my grocery shopping.  I’m beat.  So I guess I’ll retire early tonight.  And if you don’t see me blogging that much in the next two months, you know where I am – in some school gym watching and cheering my boy.  That’s him – number 63.


January 27, 2007 at 9:59 pm 27 comments

Family Game Night – Part 3

13 Dead End Drive 


We have a new favourite on Family Game Nights.  It’s called 13 Dead End Drive.  You’re either gonna be lucky or unlucky by the end of this game. 

Here’s the story.  Aunt Agatha just passed away.  She has no surviving relatives.  So her fortune is up for grabs.  Her 12 friends and employees are anxiously waiting for the reading of her will.  But it says only one will inherit her fabulous wealth – the one whose portrait is hanging on the wall. 

The gameboard is the mansion and it is full of traps.  There’s a toppling statue, a shaky chandelier, a bookcase ladder that could fall.  There are also secret passages.  You have to watch out as you move your pawns because these traps could literally fall on them. 

The 12 suspects are: the butler, the chef, the maid, the chauffeur, the gardener, the doctor, the tennis coach, the best friend, the boyfriend, the hair stylist, the fortune-teller, and yeah, the cat. 

You win in three ways: 

1.       If your pawn gets out of the mansion when it’s portrait is shown hanging on the wall.

2.       If your pawn is the last one alive.

3.       If the detective arrives at the front door and your pawn’s portrait is shown hanging on the wall. 

This is such a fun game to play. 


Another game we have been playing lately is the mancala. When Ryland saw the sungka at the Folklorama Philippine Pavilion last weekend, he said, “It’s like the mancala.”  I smiled because when I first saw a mancala, I thought, it’s like the sungka. 

The mancala gameboard is a tray with six small bowls on each side and two large bowls on each end called the mancalas.  Instead of (tamarind) seeds or tiny shells, as we use in sungka, mancala uses these tiny colourful plastic African animals. 

Before starting the game, four seeds are placed in each bowl, except the two mancalas.  A player owns the six small bowls closest to him and the mancala on his right.  The first player scoops the seeds from one of his bowls and drops one seed at a time in each bowl, going counterclockwise.  A player never drops seeds in his opponent’s mancala.  He skips it and continues dropping seeds until he has no more in his hands.  The two players take turns.  If a seed lands in an empty bowl on his side, he takes the seeds in the opponent’s bowl directly across from it and also the seed that he dropped in the empty bowl and puts them in his own mancala. 

The game ends when a player has no more seeds left in his bowls.  The other player places his remaining seeds in his own mancala.  The player with the most number of seeds in his mancala wins.

August 24, 2006 at 9:29 pm 18 comments

Jazz and Cultural Performances and a Baseball Game

What do the three things in the title have in common?  I’ve watched all three this past weekend.

Cool Jazz Performances


My teenage son, Reggie, attended the University of Manitoba Jazz Camp last week.  This camp doesn’t have tents or makeshift shelters, as my mother thought before.  Camps, especially summer camps here in Winnipeg, can also mean an organized recreation or instruction for vacationing children, as this Jazz Camp was.  Junior/senior high school and college students signed up for this week-long camp and they learned how to improve their jazz and music skills from jazz musicians and vocalists, music educators and other musicians with an interest in jazz. 

The event ended last Saturday with a concert where the students performed at different sites in the University.  The students were separated in groups and each group performed about three to four pieces.  I’ve watched several concerts of Reggie and what I found interesting in this one is that the students were taught how to play by ear instead of reading the music.  Because the emcee explained, Jazz music is about spontaneity and improvisation, or something like that.  All the kids played their instruments very well and the audience really enjoyed every piece.

Reggie intends to pursue a career in Jazz Music at U of M when he graduates from high school next year.  And he was really excited, and always is, to meet jazz artists.  He proudly told me that he met Stefon Harris, who he said is connected with Bruno Records and he even got his signature.  I guess he is well renowned in the Jazz scene.

Cultural Performances at Folklorama

(Please click the links for pictures)

After Reggie’s performance at U of M, we headed to the Folklorama Pearl of the Orient Seas – Philippine Pavilion.  Folklorama is one of the biggest tourist attractions of Manitoba in the Summer.  Folklorama is a celebration of the cultural diversity of Canada.  This two-week event happens every August and different cultural groups set up pavilions in schools, community centers or church basements and they showcase cultural displays, their native food, music and dances.  There are several pavilions which include Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Portuguese and of course the Philippine pavilion just to name a few.  We’ve been going to the Philippine pavilion every year since I rediscovered Folklorama three years ago.  My kids always enjoy watching the Philippine dances. 

On Saturday, we saw the Abaniko or the Asian Fan Dance, the Wedding Dance, where a typical Philippine wedding was depicted, the Pandango sa Ilaw where performers danced with lighted candles inside glass cups on their heads and hands, the Tinikling, where dancers even as young as five or six, wove in and out of bamboo poles on the floor.  Dancers have to be agile in this last dance so that their feet won’t get caught between the bamboo poles.

After the performance, we went to the canteen.  We ate pancit, lumpia, empanada, ukoy, puto and kutsinta and we had the tapioca drink called sago.  Then we headed to the cultural displays where we again saw replicas of the bahay-kubo (hut) and jeepney and a real bunot and sungka.  There was a big map of the Philippines on the floor and I showed my kids what province I came from (Cavite), and also where their dad came from (Pasig).  And oh boy! Does Ryan have a sharp eye or what?  He pointed to me our name on the map.  I didn’t know about that.  Now my kids must think that we are something in the Philippines as our last name is also a famous brand there.

Baseball Game – Goldeyes vs. T-Bones

On Sunday, Ryan and I went to the CanWest Global Park to watch the Winnipeg Goldeyes play against the Kansas City T-Bones.  The two free front row tickets were courtesy of my mother, who knows that Ryan is such a sports fan.  This was the second time I have stepped into a baseball field.  The first time was last year.  Read about that here, as there is nothing compared to the thrill of that first experience.

I learned my lesson last year, so I came to the game equipped this time.  I brought my wide brimmed straw hat and I applied lots of sunblock.  I didn’t want to get sunburned again.  I brought the umbrella but Ryan didn’t want me to open it while we were in our seats.  People here in Canada use the umbrella only as a protection against the rain, unlike in the Philippines where we also use it as protection against the sun.  I didn’t want to embarrass Ryan anymore, as I already did once that day.

Well, you see, I know the proper etiquette when anybody’s national anthem is being played or sung.  You stand up, keep quiet, or sing along, and take off your hat if you’re wearing one.  When we stepped on that baseball field and went to our seats, I put my hat on right away as it was so hot, 31 C.  The wide brim of my hat gave me that much needed shade and I totally forgot that I was wearing it when they started playing the Star-Spangled Banner (T-Bones is a U.S. team).  We were already halfway through the song when Ryan told me that I should take off my hat.  Ooops. Sorry.  I forgot.  So I immediately took it off.   Oh, I didn’t intend to be rude.  It just slipped my mind. 

Well anyway, the game lasted until the ninth inning.  The Goldeyes won.  9 to 6.  Yey, Goldeyes!  And Ryan took home a souvenir.  A stray baseball, or is it called a foul ball (?), which one of the players threw his way.

That was my busy weekend.  I was so exhausted and staying under the sun for three hours gave me a headache.  So I lay down right away when we got home after the game.  And yeah, I’ve got tanned arms, as if I really needed that.  And Ryan’s face is all red because he wouldn’t wear his hat.

August 21, 2006 at 10:15 pm 20 comments

Family Game Night – Part 2

We’ve been having family game nights every Friday since we started five weeks ago.  We’ve been playing Scrabble until tonight.  The kids chose puzzles and Guess Who?


We did the puzzles first.  Ryan finished his first puzzle in 7 minutes.  Ryland and I were not done yet so he did the second puzzle.  Well, you see, Ryan had been doing these 100-piece Pokemon puzzles the whole week and had been trying to beat his own time.  He’s got a lot of practise.  So it was actually just between Ryland and me.  Whoever finishes first is the winner.  Ryland did his in 24 minutes.  And I wasn’t even halfway done mine.  Oh, I was so bad at this.   

“Do you want me to help you, Mommy?” 

“No, it’s okay.  I want to finish it myself.” 

So, like that old lady in the marathon, who dragged herself to the finish line when everybody else reached it several hours ahead of her, I finished my puzzle after 50 long minutes.


While I struggled to connect the pieces of my Pokemon puzzle, the two boys played Guess Who?  This is a Mystery Game where you guess your opponent’s mystery person by process of elimination.  You ask questions such as:  “Does your mystery person have a mustache?”  If they answer “No,” you flip down all the faces in your tray with mustaches.  Or “Is your mystery person wearing a hat?”  If they answer “No,” you flip down all the faces with hats.  When there are only two faces left, you take a guess.  And you win if you are the first to discover your opponent’s mystery person.

August 4, 2006 at 10:28 pm 18 comments

Family Game Night

I have suggested family game nights before but the kids weren’t usually interested.  They always each had their own thing going on.   Reggie would be surfing the internet or listening to his jazz music.  Ryan would be watching basketball.  Ryland would be playing his Pokemon Gameboy Advance Game.  Their dad isn’t really interested and I would end up also doing my own thing, like surfing the net if the computer is free or watching my movies. 

School’s been out for a week now and they have been doing the things I’ve mentioned during the day.  I guess Ryan was getting bored and asked the other day, “Are we having a Game Night?”   

My eyes lit up and I enthusiastically answered, “Sure.  When do you want to do it?” 

“Hmmn, what about on Friday?” 

“Friday it is!” 

We agreed on Scrabble and we set it up on the living room table.  Reggie didn’t want to play.  He was up in their room playing his flute along with his jazz music.  And dad wasn’t home.  He works at night.  Ryan wasn’t too happy at first.  But I said, “The three of us is still a family.” 

So we gathered around the table.  It was my turn first, then Ryland who was on my left and then Ryan who was on the other side of the table.   

Scrabble is one of my favourite board games.  One of my fond memories as a little girl is playing scrabble with my father, mother and sister in our house in Noveleta, Cavite.  We would sprawl on the floor around the board with a thick dictionary beside us to check if there was such a word as jig or quay.  I think I’ve memorized all the words under Q because I wanted to make sure that I got rid of that letter and also the letter Z before the end of the game lest 10 points,  or 20 points if I had both, got subtracted from my score.  But then again, I wanted these letters to land on either the double or triple letter scores.

“Is ‘roan’ a word, Mommy?”  Ryan asked. 

“Hmmn.  Let’s check.” 

So we searched on and whadda you know.  It is. 

“Roan – Having a chestnut, bay, or sorrel coat thickly sprinkled with white or gray: a roan horse.” 

We’ve learned a new word. 

Later on, “Is ‘tor’ a word?” 

“You know the drill.” 

“Tor – A high rock or pile of rocks on the top of a hill.”   

We learned another one. 

It was fun.  I guided them on how to use the double and triple letter and word scores.  I had to help Ryland a lot.  He’s only eight.  At one point Ryan wasn’t too happy when he had the lowest score.   

“Ryan, this is not about winning or losing.  It’s about having fun.” 

That boy is very competitive.  He always wants to be the first.  He always wants to win.  I’ve explained to him many times, “Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.”  

He was happy when the game ended.  He finished second.  And guess who won.  Moi. (That’s French for me.)

July 7, 2006 at 10:59 pm 19 comments

Brad, the Raptors, and the game

Brad Pitt was in town shooting the film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. I’m not really a fan. Although, I was excited at first when I learned that the shooting would take place at the antique Exchange District. The place was transformed into a Western setting. The crew covered the streets with dirt, buggies, and horses. But I’m not the type of person who would stand out there and watch a shooting just to take a peek at Hollywood stars. I’m not crazy about Brad, anyway. I know a few people who are more interested in gazing at the alluring Miss Jolie.

Well, anyway, I thought that there could be a chance that Brad would show up at the Raptors game last night. Although I’m not a fan, I thought it would have been cool to see a movie star in person. But he wasn’t there. And yes, the Toronto Raptors and Portland Trailblazers were also in town. My 11-year old son, Ryan, who is into basketball, and many other Winnipeggers had been anticipating for months in watching the only Canadian team in the NBA play at the MTS Centre. Ryland and I went with Ryan to watch the pre-season game. This was our first time to watch a live professional basketball game and our first time to be inside the MTS Centre arena.

Even though Vince Carter is not in the team anymore (he was traded to New Jersey Nets), thousands of people still flocked the MTS Centre. I saw several kababayans (fellow Filipinos). None of them I knew except for my friend Elaine and husband Myke who were seated on the other side of the court. We also saw Jordan, Ryan’s former basketball teammate.

During the first half of the game, the scores were pretty close. But by the third quarter, the Trailblazers were leading by over ten points. The Raptors started catching up during the last 43 seconds. That’s when the game became exciting. People were booing the Trailblazers every time they scored a basket, which I don’t really understand. When I watched my kids play in the league this Spring, the parents cheered the players not only in their team, but even the ones in the other team. I just think it’s rude to boo them. But I guess this is what people do at these basketball games. And oh boy, was Ryland hyped up! He was chanting and booing with the audience. He also thought that it was cool to do “the wave.” I did, too.

We wanted the Raptors to win but with less than a minute to play, it was hard to catch up. They ended up losing, 105-98. It was a good game, though. And a memorable one for us since it’s the first NBA game we ever watched. I wonder if Ryan still wants to go to L.A. to see the Lakers play. Hmmn.

October 25, 2005 at 9:07 pm 3 comments

The Goldeyes and the teacher

I like teaching my children and bringing them to places where they’ve never been before. I never thought that they would also teach me things and bring me to places I’ve never been before.

Mama gave us two free tickets to the Goldeyes game this Sunday. She knew that Ryan was into sports. Ryan was excited and was faced with the decision of which parent to bring to the game. It was a no-brainer to him. No, he didn’t pick the obvious choice because he was worried that “Daddy might not buy me hotdogs at the game.” Because what’s the point of watching a baseball game without hotdogs, right? It’s like going to the movies without popcorn. So I was honoured and gladly went to the game with him even though I didn’t understand a thing about baseball.

The thing about baseball is it is an outdoor sport and you watch it out in the open. Today was a sweltering 32C degrees and it was sooo hot. Good thing that we applied sunblock before we left home. Forgot the hats though. We saw Goldie, the team mascot. Yes, we had hotdogs and cold drinks, which turned warm just like that because it was sooo hot. And we got a treat from the owner of the Goldeyes team, none other than Mayor Sam Katz. It was his daughter’s birthday and he gave everybody, all 6,000 (?) of us Breyers frozen delights. That was sweet, or I should say cool.

The Winnipeg Goldeyes played against the Edmonton Cracker Cats. The home team won 12-8. And Jorge Moreno was the star of this game. Other than that, I couldn’t tell you much more because I am not familiar with the terms. Although, I did learn a little bit about baseball today. Thanks to my patient teacher.

July 10, 2005 at 10:19 pm 5 comments

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