Posts filed under ‘Memory Lane’

Journey to Honeyville



We just finished wrapping up our busy season at work. So here I am with some extra time on my hands, and I have decided to update my blog.

It has been 3 years since my last post and a lot of things have happened since then. To keep myself from repeating the same thing, please check my About page for updates about me and the kids.

In addition to what’s there, I have also travelled back to the Philippines this past March. Yes, after 23 years! I was very excited preparing for the trip, but at the same time I was sort of anxious. Imagine, it has been a long time since I was back home. I didn’t even know if I’d feel at home there, if I can still connect with my relatives, my aunts, my cousins. Will they like my pasalubong? Are they expecting a lot? Will they be disappointed that I didn’t bring designer labels? Will I manage to navigate my way to the places I want to visit? Will I be able to commute by bus and jeepney on my own, or will I always need a chaperone?

But you know what? The minute I got there, I realized how silly those fears were. Once I started meeting my cousins, it was just like old times. Non-stop stories about our childhood, our present lives, our work, our kids. We also shared stories about our partners, broken relationships, dyeing hair and getting highlights, ingrown toenails, etc. And as for finding my way, I did manage to find my way to the mall and back to the condo where my mother and I stayed. 🙂 And I think, if I had stayed longer, I would have managed to get on the jeepney on my own.

My vacation in the Philippines was only 3 weeks long, but I tried to make the most of it. I visited a few tourist spots, some of them with my cousins, some great bonding time there. And of course one place I made sure I get to visit was my childhood town of Noveleta, Cavite. Oh boy, that was one sentimental trip!  As I looked out the window of the bus as we drove along Cavitex, I thought, this is my “Journey to Honeyville.” That’s the name I chose for this blog before I changed it to “niceheart.” And as I try to revive this blog, I am bringing Journey to Honeyville back.


July 1, 2014 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

Running With Augusten Burroughs

Let me just finish writing about Augusten Burrough’s memoirs before I forget what I’ve read.

I loved A Wolf at the Table so much that I just had to get his other books. After searching the second hand bookstores in my area, I found three more of his books. What can I say? I love this guy. I was reading Dry on the bus when the young woman sitting next to me said, “He’s one of my favourite authors.” Actually, she said it after I closed the book. And yeah, now, he’s also become one of my favourite authors.

In Running With Scissors, Augusten writes about his painful childhood. In the first chapter titled, “Something Isn’t Right,” he must have already known at ten years old that there’s something wrong with his mother. She wasn’t seeing Dr. Finch, the psychiatrist, just because of her marital problems, but because she’s crazy, as in psychotic crazy. His father was cold and distant and by the second chapter, his parents are already divorced. It was an explosive divorce.

When he was 13, his mother left him to live with the Finches because she could no longer handle him. The Finches were an eccentric and dysfunctional family.

I could relate to Augusten’s story. I was twelve when my parents separated and it was also an explosive separation. I was 15 when mother left me and my sister to live with relatives. Also a dysfunctional family. I love them dearly, but that’s the truth. I grew up in a dysfunctional family and was sent away to live in another dysfunctional family. But when I say dysfunctional, I say it like it is a term of endearment. (Sorry, folks. But I do love you all.)

Just when you think that you had a tough childhood, you read something like this and you feel lucky that this childhood didn’t happen to you. And once again, here’s a memoir that relates about the pains of growing up, about one’s trials and tribulations early in life. And it was written so beautifully and injected with humour. I think there’s only a chosen few who can do that.

I’ve read quite a few memoirs already and I think that the best way to relate about a painful childhood or experience is to either write it beautifully or with humour, or better yet, both.

Just a few interesting notes that I like to point out after reading this book:

Dr. Finch encouraged his children and patients to shout, scream, confront. Because as he said, if you don’t let the anger out, it will kill you. I do agree that sometimes it feels better when you let off the steam, but I don’t know, a shouting family? Is that any healthier?

Augusten said that the Finches showed him that you could make your own rules. Your life was your own and no adult should be allowed to shape it for you. At one point in the book, Augusten said that while he was living with the Finches, he had freedom. There were no rules at the Finches’ house, yet he felt trapped. “I wanted to break free. But free from what? And that was the problem. Because I didn’t know what I wanted to break free from. I was stuck.”

When Augusten was still living with his mother and he didn’t want to go to school, she wouldn’t force him and she would let him stay at home with her. When he was also living with the Finches, he’d skip school and the doctor even helped him stage a suicide attempt just so he’d have a valid reason to stay out of school. But he had to spend a month in a psychiatric hospital. I know, that’s just sick and weird.

Augusten also wrote about how he’d rather stay at home and write in his journal. I wonder if all memoirists kept journals. I’ve always wondered how they can remember details vividly from their childhood.

In Dry, Augusten writes about his life in advertising and about his alcoholism. His co-workers did an intervention and he agreed to check into rehab. He became sober and attended AA meetings. In this memoir, we get a glimpse of the life of this gay guy in his twenties struggling to fight the urge to drink and let go of his baggage. He wasn’t supposed to date anybody in his AA group, but he became involved with someone in his group.

I found it interesting how he, a gay guy, describes his feelings towards somebody that he’s attracted to. It’s the same feelings and emotions that I have experienced towards anybody that I have been attracted to. Gay or straight, we’re all the same. In Dry, I like how he wrote about his sexual feelings. It was so sweet and he wrote about it in sort of a discreet way.

In Running With Scissors, I was shocked at how he described his first sexual encounter, with a gay guy. But he wrote Running from his point of view as a child. I guess, when you have been taken advantage of at age 13, it will stick in your mind as a nasty experience. And there’s just no other way of saying it.

Dry is written like a novel and I love how he wrote it with his self-deprecating sense of humor. In the book, he used the word riveting to describe one of the stories that was shared in his group. Riveting is how I found his story. This has been a page-turner for me.

Magical Thinking is a collection of true stories. Funny, amusing, entertaining, and just brilliant writing. A couple of memorable ones are the one about his cleaning lady who was trying to rip him off and how he outsmarted her, and the one where he tried to kill a rat in his New York apartment. Magical Thinking is also the title of one of the stories in this book. Magical thinking, he explains, is the belief that we can influence events by thinking about them. Like for instance, how he willed his partner to let him have a dog, or how at 34, he decided to stop being an alcoholic and become a New York Times bestselling author. And look at him now.

I believe my youngest son has this (power?) influence, too. On November 1st, he came home complaining how he was forced to sign up for volleyball. Now, I don’t really think that he was forced against his will. The good mother and motivator that I am, I tried to sell it to him. Oh, that’s a good activity for you. You’ll get the exercise that you need. Still, he complained and begged me to not let him go to the tournament that was happening at the end of the month. But what’s the point of all these lessons and practice? Just go, I told him. The night before the tournament, he got ill. He had a fever and he had to stay home the next day. Coincidence or magical thinking?

Read my movie review of Running With Scissors here.

January 6, 2010 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment

A Mother of A Problem

A Mother of A Problem

A Mother of a Problem

This past week’s episode of Ugly Betty titled, A Mother of A Problem, brought me many years back.

You see, Betty is now dating Matt. She met him in her YETI (Young Editors Training Initiative) class. She just recently found out that Matt is rich. But she liked him even when she suspected that he didn’t have money. Well, last week, she went to his house to meet him there. But Matt wasn’t home yet and Betty met his mother, Mrs. Victoria Hartley. At first, Mrs. Hartley thought that Betty was one of the maids. When Betty told her that she’s dating Matt, she wasn’t too impressed. Matt came and introduced them properly and when they left, he apologized to Betty about her mother, “She’s judgmental and controlling. No one I date is ever good enough for her.” But Betty said, “It matters to me that she likes me.” And she wanted to meet her again.

So Matt invited Betty to this fancy dinner that his mother was holding the following week. Betty wanted his mother to like her and so she prepared for it, even asking her boss’s mother, Mrs. Claire Mead, how to act at this kind of parties and Mrs. Mead even told her how Mrs. Hartley have these topics for these dinners. They tried to find out what the topic was and it was “Torture.” Good thing that Betty just read an article about the topic.

The big night came and there was a mushroom fiasco with an expensive painting owned by the hostess, but Matt took the blame for Betty. Even so, Mrs. Hartley made sure that Betty wasn’t sitting beside Matt at dinner and what do you know, she changed the topic to “The Future of Opera.” Well, Betty is a smart girl and since she works at a fashion magazine she came up with an answer that she knows very well, “Opera is fashion.” (She does know about fashion a lot, although her sense of fashion may be debatable. 🙂 ) The guests were impressed with her opinion. She thought that she impressed Matt’s mother, as well.

But she was wrong. After dinner, Mrs. Hartley talked to Betty. She asked Betty what she has in common with Matt. She went on ahead and told Betty that Matt went to Yale University, he speaks three languages and he plays the piano. When Betty couldn’t answer, Mrs. Hartley told her that it would be the last time they’d be seeing each other. When Matt saw Betty leaving, he told his mother that he was leaving with her.

This is the part where I was brought back in time. I was in my early 20s many years ago and I had been dating this guy for quite a while. I already had a feeling that his mother wasn’t that fond of me. One night she came to my house and told me that maybe I should give her son some space. She noticed that we had been spending a lot of time together and that he was at my house a lot. She thought that since her son was still young, that he should still meet other girls. She kinda knew that we were getting serious. She probably thought that if it were not for me, her son would meet someone who conformed more to her standards, whatever they might have been. Maybe she didn’t think that I was good looking enough for him or that he was a bit young for me (only two years, btw). I didn’t know. I never thought of asking. Because, honestly, I was surprised when she came to talk to me. I thought that “you’re not good enough for my son” speech only happened in the movies. At that time, I rattled my brains and tried to think what lines those characters delivered in the movies that I had seen. I told his mother that I wasn’t trying to force her son on myself. He liked me and I liked him and if he ever felt that he didn’t want to be in the relationship, he was free to go.

And yeah, of course, I was hurt. Friends told me to ignore her. She wasn’t the one I was dating or going to live with if the relationship was headed in that direction. My friends had a good point. But I think, to some girls, it matters that their boyfriend’s mother like them, like it did matter to Betty. But to what lengths are you going to try to make them like you? If it’s a matter of attitude, you can probably try to change. But if it’s a matter of personality or the way you look or just the way you are, there’s nothing much you can do, is there?

I like Claire Mead’s advice to Betty. She said that she’s never going to win over Mrs. Hartley and that she needs to stand her ground. And I guess that’s what I kinda did.

March 15, 2009 at 1:43 pm 4 comments

There is a Season

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou

I have finally finished reading “There is A Season: A Memoir,” by Patrick Lane. I started reading this book back in October, but I got really busy with work when I was halfway through the book and I sort of abandoned it. Sometime last month, I picked it up again and continued reading from where I left off. I do my reading in the bus while commuting to and from work. There was a time when I thought that I couldn’t read in a moving car or bus because it makes me sick. But on our road trip to Alberta last summer, I figured out a way how to make it work for me. I just have to hold the book upright so I’m not looking down. Because it’s the looking down that’s making me feel sick. Besides, it’s getting more comfortable sitting in the bus now that there’s more room in the seats without our bulky winter jackets.

I first heard about this book on the Vicki Gabereau show when Lane was on. Lane is an award-winning Canadian poet. He was an alcoholic. He went to a treatment centre after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and when he came out, he spent a year in his garden writing about his life and his drug and alcohol addiction. As he digs in his garden, he uncovers bottles of vodka everywhere. When I watched that show, I told myself, I want to read that book. I have already read Angela’s Ashes then and I related to Frank McCourt’s story because like his father, mine was an alcoholic, too. And now, I want to read the life of an alcoholic from his own perspective.

Lane is a gifted poet. And reading his prose is like reading a poem without trying to figure out what it means. I don’t have much tolerance for poems. His narration of his past are just as vivid and as colourful as his description of the plants and the interaction of bugs and animals in his garden.

Here are just some of the excerpts in the book to give you a few examples.

I remember the bag of oranges breaking and the bright fruit falling. I can see my brothers running down the path in front of my father as the oranges bounded on ahead. They laughed as they followed the golden balls, picking up one and then another from among the fir cones and needles, desiccated ferns, and stones. I wanted to be with them. I squirmed in his arms and he laughed a great laugh and took me in his two huge hands and held me out in front of him. I wriggled, desperate to be put down. My brothers were far ahead of me on the path. They were stuffing oranges into their ragged shirts.”

The birds ignore me as I cut the fallen leaves of the Japanese iris at the edge of the pond. The leaves splayed outward on the water are like the long hair a woman throws forward to dry in the sun. How beautiful the neck of my woman when the sun touches her hidden flesh. The irises have already begun to push up their first green spears. They’ll bloom in late spring, a spray of startled blue. They have no beard, just a thin stripe of gold on the curved petals.”

Lane writes about how his parents were both alcoholics. His mother gave him sips of whisky or beer when he was a small child and his father let him finish his last inch of beer. As a child, his body already craved alcohol. He also writes about how his brother died of cerebral hemorrhage and how “in his youth and confusion, he had nowhere to put his grief.” His brother’s death was followed by others and he turned to drugs and alcohol to escape the misery of life.

I’ve always wondered how my father became an alcoholic. Did his parents introduce him to alcohol? When did he start drinking? Was it just brought about by going out with his kumpares (friends) to these inuman (drinking) sessions?

There is this period of time that I wish I could go back to. This was the time after my father suffered a stroke. He was paralyzed from the neck down. I had been here in Canada for a little over a year. I came back home to see him, maybe for the last time, I thought. He was sent to his hometown in Atimonan, Quezon to be looked after by a cousin. I was staying in Manila then but I went down to Atimonan to spend a week with him before I flew back to Winnipeg. Only a week, when I was there in the Philippines for two months. I wish I could have spent more time with him, reminisce about the happier times of my childhood, get to know him again. Because I haven’t really spent that much time with him since he and my mother separated when I was 12. And maybe I could have asked him all these questions that were in my head. But I was distracted at that time. I was then struggling with a long distance relationship and I was trying to renew my relationship with a man who also loved his kumpares and his alcohol. But I didn’t realize it then. It was only years later after following the Dr. Phil show that I understood why I was with a man who was like my father.

It’s hard to lift myself out of the past. I find I have to go back with a will toward remembering and so understand not only why I was alcoholic and sick but also who I am now that I am sober.”

When I remember the past it is alive and it is as if it is dreaming me. Without the past I can’t learn to live in the unfolding present. This bit of history called the new millennium wants to forget, but forgetting means having to repeat everything that came before. While the past can be a burden, it is also a gift out of time. The clear moments of memory must be understood. It is only then they can be let go.”

Like Lane, I also find myself remembering the past, for the same reason that he states in his memoir. Yes, the past can be a burden, but at the same time, it helps me understand why things were the way they were, why I am the way that I am.

This morning I found a full mickey of vodka tucked under the corner of the deck in the shade of the overhanging viburnum. My hands shook as I picked it up, doubly so because it was full. The weight of the clear glass bottle, its shape, the colour of its red cap, and the dense swirl of slight oiliness in the liquid made me feel I was holding an old and trusted friend. It was all I could do to carry it into the kitchen, break the seal, and watch the alcohol chug slowly down the drain. It was like watching both ambrosia and poison vanish at the same time. How my body yearned to drink it and how, at the same time, it rebelled against the thought.”

I know my father also tried to give up alcohol at least a couple of times after my mother left him. How hard he tried, I don’t really know. Because as soon as we thought that he’d change, there he was again out with his buddies and he’d come home drunk and wasted. I do understand now that alcoholism is a disease. It’s just too bad that at that time, treatment centres were not available yet back home.

I am withdrawing from the scourge of forty-five years of drinking. Two months ago I stumbled into a treatment centre for alcohol and drug addiction. Now, I am barely detoxed. Standing here among the swordferns my senses seem to be thin glass, so acute at their edges I am afraid I will cut myself simply by touching the silicon edge of a bamboo leaf.

There is something about Lane’s struggles that connects with me deeply. No, I’m not an alcoholic or drug abuser, nor was I ever one of those. The healing process that he went through is so familiar to me. In a way, I am also going through a healing process and I also feel that vulnerability. There are many other things in his life that I can relate to. I wish I could share them all here, but this post is already getting long. Maybe some other time.

Why do I keep writing about my ugly past? Why am I airing my dirty laundry? Yes, I’ve written about it a few times before. Isn’t that enough? But I come across these stories and I find a connection with them. These stories inspire me to also share my own story. I know that there are others who can also connect to my story.

I begin to understand that when things fall apart it doesn’t mean they’re broken, it means they are forming themselves into other things.”

And I guess that is the message that I am trying to get across. Things change, so don’t lose hope.

By the way, gardeners might also enjoy reading this book because Lane describes his garden so beautifully and his gardening in such minutest detail.

June 8, 2008 at 3:06 pm 7 comments

Queen Victoria, The Coward, and The Kite Runner

It is a long weekend here in Canada, today being Victoria Day. That means we get an extra day off from work (and school). Which is really nice because I’ve been working extra hard these past six months or so.

And just a little trivia for you. Did you know that Canadians originally celebrated Victoria Day on May 24th? That was Queen Victoria’s actual birthday. I learned this when I was studying for my Citizenship exam about twelve years ago. And I remember the date because that is also my birthday. 🙂 But now, we celebrate Victoria Day every third Monday of May, giving us a long weekend.

How does niceheart spend a long weekend, you might ask? Well, I slept in a little bit this morning. I was going to get up at 8:00 am so I could do some closet organizing, but I wasn’t able to get out of bed until an hour later. 😉 Yesterday, my family and I went to the malls, which were a bit crowded for a Sunday in my opinion. But of course, it’s the long weekend. And I rented two movies from Rogers Video for some “me” time. 🙂

The first one has a very long title and it is a very long movie, 160 minutes. That’s two hours and forty minutes. I have to watch it in two sittings. It’s called The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The title basically tells you what the story is all about. I only wanted to watch it, no, not because of Brad Pitt, but because he was here in Winnipeg for one day to shoot a few scenes. Okay, I think that every time I mention Brad in my posts, I say that I am not a fan. But I realize now that I’ve seen quite a few of his movies. Does that make me a fan? Okay, here’s a confession. I was turned off by what happened to him and Jen Aniston. Because I liked Jen. I was a fan of Friends. But now I can see that he’s happy with Angie. And I guess, I am turned on seeing how he is a responsible family man now.

Well, anyway, I didn’t go out there on Princess Street that cold fall morning when they transformed it into a Western settting. I recognized the Pantages Theatre in the movie because I was once there when I watched my oldest son sing with his class during a music festival when he was still in grade school. I think I’ve also been to the Burton Cummings Theatre once when it was still an Odeon Cinema. These two theatres were used for the stage recreation of Jesse James’ murder.

Spoilers Alert:

I’ve always wondered why Robert Ford was given the title Coward. At first I thought it was because he was meek or weak. In the beginning of the movie, he was portrayed as an insecure man. And after watching the ending, I think he was labeled a coward because he betrayed who people thought was his friend, the same one who gave him food, bed and shelter. And because he shot him from behind. Does that make one a coward? And that day when he was murdered, I think Jesse knew what was happening. But why did he take off his gun belt? And when he saw Robert’s reflection from the dusty picture frame hanging on the wall, his gun pointing at him, why didn’t he duck or something? I guess he has accepted his fate at that point.

I hope I don’t sound twisted by saying this, but I feel bad for Robert. The people and the government wanted Jesse James dead and when Robert finally killed him, Jesse got all the recognition as the famous outlaw. But when Robert was murdered, he got nothing. As the narrator said at the ending of the movie: “There would be no eulogies for Bob (Robert), no photographs of his body would be sold in sundries stores, no people would crowd the streets in the rain to see his funeral cortege, no biographies would be written about him, no children named after him, no one would ever pay twenty-five cents to stand in the rooms he grew up in.”

The other movie I rented is The Kite Runner. I like the story. I haven’t read the book, although, I thought of buying it yesterday when we were at Chapters book store. But I ended up buying Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons instead. You see, I won $21.00 from a 50/50 draw at work and I wanted to spend it on a book. The Kite Runner is $21.99. If you add the 5 % GST, it will come up to $23.08 and Angels and Demons is only $12.99, $13.64 including the taxes. But it wasn’t only the price that I considered. For me, it’s different when you already read the book and you want to see how it’s played out in the big screen. But if I haven’t read the book yet, and I was going to watch the movie, why buy the book? But now after watching The Kite Runner, I think I’m going to buy the book anyway. I’ve read on the internet that the novel wasn’t portrayed in the movie as graphically as it was in the book.

Spoilers Alert:

Well, anyway, The Kite Runner is a story about two boys, Amir and Hassan, two good friends in Afghanistan, but after witnessing his friend being assaulted by an older boy, a bully, Amir did nothing to defend Hassan. The scene was done so discreetly in the film that I was having second thoughts as to whether Hassan was beaten or actually raped. The event caused a falling apart between the two friends and it haunted Amir through his adult life. But when he received that phone call from Afghanistan from his old friend, Rahim Kahn, when he was already an adult living in America, “Now there is a way to be good again…,” he found a way to redeem himself.

Amir’s betrayal of his friend sort of reminds me of a certain incident that happened in my childhood. It’s not as big as what happened to Amir and Hassan. But I had this good friend in my childhood, you could call us best of friends. We would always go to each others houses, hang out and play. Paper dolls were the craze back then. We would pass by this store where they sell these paper dolls and other novelty items. We had our eye on one of the paperdoll booklets and we decided to save up our allowances, put our money in together and buy the paperdoll booklet together. I received a better allowance than she did and saved up my share a lot quicker that she did. When I thought that we had enough, even though I put in more money, I told her that we should buy it already. And so we did. We played with the paperdoll and its clothes and shared its ownership. But I don’t know why I became greedy one day. I told her I’d pay her back her share that she contributed and I wanted to keep the paperdoll for myself. I can’t remember now how she reacted or if I ever redeemed myself for doing that. But we stayed the best of friends for as long as I stayed in that town.

Here’s an interesting quote from the movie: “There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.”

May 19, 2008 at 6:19 pm 19 comments

The Graduate, His Awesomeness

The day before graduation, Reggie picked up his cap and gown at school. When he brought them home, I checked them right away to make sure that they are in good condition and that the gown is not too long nor too short.  He said that they were fitted weeks before and the garment bag actually has a sticker with his name on it.  I checked the tag on the gown and, of course, it was made by Gaspard & Sons.  I used to work for this garment company and if I’m not mistaken, they are one of the leading suppliers of graduation caps and gowns here in Canada.  They also make church vestments, by the way.

I was still working there when Reggie graduated from kindergarten.  Actually he didn’t have a graduation.  And I wanted so much to have a picture of him in a graduation outfit, so I asked my supervisor if I could borrow a set of cap and gown so I could have his picture taken at a Wal-Mart.  She asked management, and not only did they let me borrow, but they gave me a set, for keeps.  I picked the colour white because that’s what I wore when I graduated from kindergarten.  Doesn’t he look so adorable in this picture?


And look at him now after twelve years.  He’s practically a grown man.  Ah, it makes me feel nostalgic and old.


When he was five years old, he would watch Home Alone over and over again.  He actually knew the movie by heart that he would narrate to me what would happen next.  He was sitting on the shopping cart I was pushing at Superstore when a lady asked him what his name was.  He said, “Kevin.” And my mother blurted out a laugh.  We then explained to the lady that Kevin is the name of the kid from Home Alone and that wasn’t his real name.

Now, he assumes the persona of Barney from How I Met Your Mother.  Barney has a penchant for suits and is famous for the line, “Suit up!”  I just hope Reggie doesn’t follow Barney’s ways of picking up women.

Reggie asked me to buy him a new pair of suit at Moore’s last November.  The boys in jazz band wear black suits at their concerts.  But this year, Reggie had also been suiting up in different occasions, like going to school parties and his friends’ birthday parties and just any special occasions at school.  He even suited up on the last day of school.  His brother, Ryan, has been telling me that his kuya has been acting weird this year.  He has been going to a lot of parties, and suiting up and there was a time when he’d wear his trademark red scarf.  But that was last winter.  He had since put the red scarf away.

Have I told you yet that he’s popular among the senior students at REC?  Yes, he claims that everybody knows him.  Unlike at home where he’s usually quiet, he is very friendly at school.  I just learned recently that the boy’s got a blog.  After a little snooping around, err, I mean, investigating, I found out the URL.  But don’t tell him.  I can’t share with you the URL though.  I think it’s intended to be read only by his friends.  I can tell you this – the blog has AWESOMENESS written all over it.  And I mean that literally.  That awesomeness is also attributed to the character of Barney.


On the day of graduation, the students were asked to be at school at 10:00 a.m.  They were then bussed to the venue of the graduation.  The ceremony wasn’t until 12:30 p.m., but they still needed to rehearse, the only one rehearsal they actually had.  They were also asked to bring snacks to tide them over the lunch hour because ceremony was expected to last two and a half hours long.

His two brothers weren’t able to come along as the youngest one still had school and the middle one decided at the last minute to just stay home.  I invited my mother and also my husband’s uncle, his only relative here in Winnipeg, to Reggie’s graduation.


A few important people, including the principal, delivered their speeches.  And then the valedictorian also delivered his speech.  We were expecting Reggie’s friend, Sam, to be the valedictorian, but it was a different student who stood there and delivered his speech.  I learned this when Reggie graduated from ninth grade, that unlike in the Philippines where it was the teachers who pick the valedictorian, here in Canada, the valedictorian is voted by the student body. 

The jazz vocal choir then went up the stage and sang their beautiful rendition of Cindy Lauper’s True Colors.

Awards were then handed out to different students.  There were a lot of awards and scholarships given out.  The awards have monetary value and are intended to help the students in the pursuit of college and university studies.  Sam received the most awards, seven, I think.  She was president of student council and she had just been a leader and mentor throughout her three years stay at REC and maintained excellent grades at the same time. Reggie told me later that she actually declined to be valedictorian because she just had too many things on her plate.  My niece was also telling me that students choose the student that most represents them as valedictorian, an average student. Not everybody is like Sam. 


We had a wonderful surprise.  Reggie received one of five musical awards.  So we’re happy about that.

After the awarding of scholarships, the students were called one by one on stage to receive their diplomas.  Before the graduates come up the stage, they hand over to the announcer a paper where they have written their names and how they wanted to be introduced.  For example, “Kayla Gail Jones. Lions Club awardee. Thank you mom and dad for putting up with me these last three years.”  Or “James Joseph Smith.  Whew!  Who would have thought, I’d graduate.  Thank you to my teachers and friends.  I’ll miss you.  I love you mom and dad.”

So Reggie’s turn came up.  I saw him from a distance hand in over his paper to the announcer.  And this is how she introduced him.  “Reginald S– M—–.  Come on down.  You’re the next contestant to the price is right.”  And of course, he had to insert there his “Ph. D. in Awesomeness.”  The crowd loved him.  The lady sitting next to my mother knows Reggie and said that he’s got a sense of humour.  If you watch How I Met Your Mother, you’ve probably seen that episode when Barney went on The Price is Right Show and met Bob Barker.  

After the ceremony, the graduates had to return their gowns right away.  We looked for Reggie and grabbed him so we could take a few snapshots of him while still in his graduation outfit.  I’m actually not that tall.  I was wearing my four-inch heels.  That was a bad idea because my feet were already hurting by that time. 


And here’s another scoop.  Instead of dressing up that day, some of the graduates wore only shorts or jeans under their graduation gown.  We saw students walk up the stage in flip-flops and runners.

After the ceremony, we all headed back home and enjoyed a small feast in celebration of this special event.  It hasn’t been an hour since we got back and Reggie already asked to be excused.  His friend, Clay, called and they attended a workshop at the Conservatory of Music downtown.


Just a reminder:  If you are in Winnipeg and have nothing better to do on this weekend,  Sunday, Canada Day, is the wrap up of the Jazz Festival at the Old Market Square at the Exchange District.  Celebrations start at 11:00 am and ends at midnight.  Reggie will be performing with the Manitoba High School Honour Band at around 3:00 pm.

June 30, 2007 at 8:39 am 26 comments

The hit songs when I was 18

I was tagged by supermom Earth Ember [ sorry ange, can’t help it 🙂 ]  to name the hit songs of the year I turned 18.  Oh what a trip down memory lane.  The year I turned 18 was one of the most turbulent years of my life.

I ran away from my auntie’s house where my mother left me and my sister when she went abroad.  I went to live with my paternal grandmother because I missed my father.  But my father didn’t live there and would only go there on the weekends.  After my first year of college, I left Centro Escolar University and transferred to the Philippine School of Business Administration because, I would explain to people then that, PSBA had the best accounting courses and they produce the topnotchers in the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Board Exams.  But here’s the fact.  My boyfriend, who stopped seeing me, was enrolled there.  I know.  How pathetic was I?  I guess I followed him there.  It’s a long story and maybe I’ll blog about that another time.  You wish.  He he he.

Well, anyway, Return of the Jedi (Star Wars) and Superman 3 were released on that year.  And it was also the year when our Philippine hero Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino Jr. was shot at the tarmac of Manila International Airport, now known as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  I was there at the overpass at Lerma-Espanya to watch his funeral procession with my buddies Tess and Lyn.  Right at the exact moment when the coffin that was surrounded with yellow flowers came right below us, rain started to pour.  And I came home soaking wet.  How’s that for a memory?

Does that tell you yet how old I am? 🙂

The Rules:
1. Go to
2. Select the year you turned 18
3. Get all nostalgic over the hit songs of the year
4. Write about it
5. Pass this tag onto 5 others


Billie Jean and Beat It – both by Michael Jackson.  His Thriller album went #1 and stayed #1 for 37 weeks.  I didn’t see the video of Thriller until I came here in Canada in late ’89.  And I had to rely on my imagination for the visuals of his Thriller song.  The creaking sound of a door opening, the foot steps and the howl at the beginning is very clever, I think.  I have a CD of MJ’s Greatest Hits Volume 1 and wrote about it in my post, The Timeless Music of MJ.  And as I’ve said before, it’s MJ’s talent that I admire, not the person that he has become.

Flashdance (What a Feeling) – Irene Cara.  I enjoyed this song not just because it was sang by my namesake but also because of the upbeat tempo.  I haven’t seen the movie but don’t you just love the dancing scene?

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Eurythmics.  This was the theme song of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, one of the shows she started on her comeback after her ordeal with the law.  Just look at these lyrics: “Some of them want to use you  Some of them want to get used by you  Some of them want to abuse you  Some of them want to be abused.”  So fitting for her.

Islands in the Stream – Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton. I like his duet with Sheena Easton, We’ve Got Tonight better than this one.  There were quite a few songs then that are duets of big music stars.  My favourite Kenny Rogers’ song of the 80s is Lady.  Remember, I was pining for my “knight in shining armour.”  🙂

All Night Long – Lionel Ritchie. I didn’t care much for this song.  My favourite Lionel Ritchie songs were Endless Love and Truly.  The lines “two hearts that beat as one” and “I’ll have your heart for always” got me.  I know, I am so baduy.

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club.  Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?  Remember Boy George?  Their song Karma Chameleon became a hit the following year.

Every Breath You Take – Police.  Was it Senor Enrique who pointed out that people neglected to see the real meaning of this song?  “Every move you make Every vow you break Every smile you fake Every claim you stake I’ll be watching you.”  It’s actually about stalking somebody.

Air Supply

Making Love Out of Nothing at All – Air Supply. This song only made it to Number Two but it was one of the greatest hits of that year.  I love Air Supply and I also have a cassette tape, later on replaced by a CD.  I was in my first year at PSBA when a classmate in Social Science and I discussed what the title of this song means.  How do you make love out of nothing at all?  Obviously, we both had not experienced making love yet. We were still talking when our professor called her to share a story and she related to us how her boyfriend died, I can’t remember exactly the details now.  And then she told me that there’s this guy who looks like the handsome Vic Sotto and he has shown an interest in her and he would sing her this song.

Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler.  This is the song that kept Making Love Out of Nothing At All from the top position, but they both stayed up on the charts for six months.  Don’t you just love this lyrics:

“Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I’m only falling apart
There’s nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there’s only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart.”

I guess that was just me hurting from an unrequited love.

Okay, enough of my pathetic life back then.

I’m tagging these five people:
1. Teacher Julie
2. Ipanema
3. Pining
4. Annamanila
5. Gypsy

Both Ipanema and Teacher Julie tagged me for the 7 songs meme.  Ipanema, some months ago and Teacher Julie, a couple of weeks ago.  But I wasn’t able to name 7 songs that I am currently listening to because, as I explained to them, I am not up to date with the current songs.  I’m stuck in the 80’s. 🙂  So I’ll understand if they’re not up to doing this tag. 🙂

June 11, 2007 at 9:58 pm 28 comments

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