Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Life as an Aunt

For the past few days, my brain munched and gulped down for breakfast, lunch and dinner the words such as congruence, angles, perpendicular, Pythagorean, electronegativity, meitnerium, darmstadtium, ununquadium, one plus one, two and three letter- words, parts of the body, kennel and months of the year.

They made me rolled my eyes, clasped my hands tightly and uttered silent prayer of forbearance. I guess having six-year-old and 15-year-old girls at home was enough to put you on the occasional brink of losing your sanity.

It’s almost the end of the school year so it’s no wonder why the house was in total chaos. My two nieces, Shayne and Trisha are completing their final requirements in school and examination is one of them.

Of course, since it would be the last it only means burning midnight oil if they don’t like to be in the same level next year- Shayne is in 9th grade and Trisha is in Senior Kindergarten.

It felt like I’ve been blasted from the past with their lessons. I’ve been so tough with them that after long days of studying, they now have big circles around their eyes.

The girls seemed to have finally recovered from their ordeals. But after being bombarded with 9th grade and kindergarten lessons, I think I’ve suffered with “study lag” and my brain swirled and twisted.

Trisha’s shriek of laughter in the darkness of the house tonight finally made me realized that it’s indeed over. The power interruption which lasted for almost an hour gave me some time of fun with her while Shayne worked with the help of the candle on her book reports.

I tickled her relentlessly until such time that she was rolling on the floor with laughter. It was like music in the ears. It actually means that she doesn’t think of me anymore as monster after those tough hours of studying.

Her laughter also reminded me of the things that I should be grateful for. Having them in my life is actually a blessing.

Here are the top ten hilarious and touching things I have gleaned from spending a year with the two girls:

1. As their tiny limbs hug you, you will realize what a blessing is.
2. Good times mean teasing, bantering words, and PESTERING me.
3. Kids fall asleep better when you tell them, “Good night, sweet dreams, see you tomorrow, God bless, and I love you both”. I’ve been saying that practically every night and whenever I fail to do so, they would wake me up and won’t stop harassing me unless I say it.
4. They want milk whenever we ran out of it.
5. Kids are the most honest creatures. They’ll call your visitor ugly without blinking of an eye.
6. Quiet nights mean tickling, tickling and endless tickling. They seemed not to run out of energy.
7. Kids considered anybody who’s “cute” for them as their "boyfriend".
8. They imitate and buy everything they see in television.
9. Going to the church means lecture- not from the priest but from me.
10. Wearing the same color and style of dress like them is enough to make them giggle the whole day.

The big toothless grin, the shriek of laughers that echoed in the house, the warm hugs from tiny limbs…the veil of innocence. Now, those are real happiness...right?

Happy hugging of your angels... 

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Inspirational Articles/ Daily Blog

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Heart’s Wishes

As I lay daydreaming 
In the comfort of the room 
I thought of your sad face 
So serious and forlorn. 

Beads of tears ran down my cheeks 
So swiftly I couldn’t get a grip 
My heart ached with your pain 
Your sorrows so deep I couldn’t bear.

My heart wished it could express better the depth of care 
Or utter it painstakingly until you could feel 
The cries of love might be loud enough for you to hear 
Oh, I wish…how I wish… 

Thy heart speaks of longing so ardent 
To caress your face to cuddle your head 
The ember of love may light up your face 
And let loose of that pain so intense. 

I wish my love could cradle you 
Hug your spirit and lulled you to a tranquil sleep 
I wish in dreams you’ll forget your worries 
Into the dreamy wonderland may your worries vanish. 

My heart wished as you gaze up at the stars 
You’ll see the brightest one I sent and painted with love 
May it sooth your heart and thy plight afar 
Oh, I wish…how I wish… 

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Wonderful Women in my Circle

Had it not been for the award I received from a fellow blogger, I would've totally forgotten that it was the international celebration of Women's Day yesterday.

My heartfelt thanks to Zubli for the Wonderful Woman Blogger Award...

...and for choosing me to be included in this group of amazing women bloggers.

Yeah, it's a bit strange looking at the slide presentation in another site with your face on it...


Little Big Mistakes

Mistake…this is the most dreaded word of anybody in print publication.

Perhaps, one of the most difficult tasks I have handled was being the head moderator of the school paper publication. That position gave me countless stomach lurches, long- agonizing nights, and starving moments.

Why? I have learned one very important lesson…

I learned that no matter how closely you scrutinized, perused and rechecked words, sentences and paragraphs, errors would remain lurking somewhere…in the most unexpected places.

Days before publication, the sleepless nights, no appetite meals, and restless days are normal occurrences for me.

To lessen errors in printing, I generally lay-out the whole magazine and personally encode the articles. In addition, I would sit for long hours in the printing press looking thoroughly with everything in the magazine.

I try to forget the word errata. I know that there is no room for error…it’s simply not in my vocabulary. But, proofreading is not synonymous to “perfect reading”.

It is not a surprise really if one of my most hated scenarios is coming face to face with thousand newly printed magazines. It’s a good thing my office is a bit secluded so I can reread the magazine before distribution to the pupils.

One…two…as my eyes located the error I wanted to throttle myself and to shout for everybody to hear, “Why in the world I didn’t see it?”

My stomach would tighten, my heart would feel like it were about to burst with erratic breathing and I would wish dying right there and then. With closed eyes, I would bury my face to the bulk of thousand magazines in front of me.

While others excitedly indulged themselves to the shiny and colorful magazine and after I received congratulations, I would hide in the office fearfully anticipating the time that somebody would approached me about misspelled words and names or error in data…and I would then think of errata to calm my pounding heart.

If there is one thing I would really pray for was that I won’t hurt anybody with what was published in the magazine. The thought of causing pain to others was enough to punish me for days and give me that ever present knot in the stomach.

As I pray at night, every bead of the rosary was dedicated for every article in the magazine with an additional beg of mercy to all the saints I knew.

Most of the times, my fear had actually no basis. Those little errors popped out insignificant to the eyes of others. Nobody seemed to notice at all. But for me, those little mistakes were big enough to give me unutterable shame for not doing better.

The phrase, “If only…” would haunt me days after the distribution.

Most of the times, I would think of relinquishing my long agonizing days of encoding, layouting, editing and scrutinizing words by resigning from my position but quitting was not in my vocabulary either.

You see, life is like that. It is made of everyday imperfections. We commit mistakes, we hurt people, and we do nonsensical things.

At night, our actions would haunt us and we cringe in embarrassment. Unfortunately, we could not take back anymore the words we said, the actions we did and at times the things we wrote.

The positive side of the publication was that after printing, I could still do some repairs with errors as soon as I noticed it. I could forego my lunch and spent my whole break time pasting and covering the boo-boos.

In life, we could not cover up actions. However, we have the words, “I’m sorry” as our “erratum” enough to heal wounds and to mend broken hearts…

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Game of Life

Filipinos never failed to amaze me in their unswerving resolve of living in laughter despite of life’s difficulties. You see them in TV everyday; children in ragged clothes singing and dancing, old men and women shouting in joy, and a crowd of audience laughing so hard ostensibly oblivious to problems surrounding them.

A year ago, I had a chance of watching live Wowowee, a variety show that caters to help unfortunate people thru contests with big money at stake. If you want to see the stark reality of poverty in the Philippines, I guess this is the best place to be.

First of all, the show isn’t just your ordinary one where contestants play and win prizes. At the start, Willie Revillame, the host would sing and promote first his album. No, he isn’t a singer in a real sense but his albums are quite a big hit to the masses.

Oh, there’s also this occasional greetings coming from OFW’s where they give dollars to help poor people.

Then, the show would continue with more dancing and singing while they choose their “Bigaten” (I’m not sure if I’ve spelled it correctly). The more foolish they look while dancing and singing- the bigger the chance for them to be chosen.

There was this time that people needed to pout their lips while singing Willie’s latest song and people gamely did it for fun. Yeah, just for the sheer fun of it…

No, the game won’t start yet.

Right after the commercial, the contestants would be introduced and they would go through interview by the host- the man of the show, Willie Revillame. There, you’ll hear real stories about poverty, sufferings and personal (I mean family) problems.

Old men and women, children of all ages bare their souls for the whole world to hear. Yes, the show is being aired also in different parts of the world thru the Filipino Channel.

Crying of contestants is just an ordinary occurrence and so is the shedding of tears of the audience. The more touching stories to share, the more the audience (that includes OFW’s) will be enamored to give something- dollars most of the times out of sympathy.

I guess Willie is the most charming person I’ve ever seen in television. Why not? He seems to be idolized by everybody at all ages. He receives countless hugs everyday and he makes old women cry because of happiness just by merely seeing him.

I hear kids saying that they want to grow up like the sexy dancers of the show, a wife telling her husband to stop womanizing, more kids revealing that their fathers abandoned them, men saying they have no works to feed their families, and more and more people telling their real stories of poverty and family problems with the accompaniment of, “Pa, magbago ka na…”

As if just by being a guest in the show you can make somebody change already with a snap of a finger. Willie gets lot of support from advertisers because of these stories that touch the soul of even the toughest creatures.

Oh, no. After listening to heart- rending stories of these people, the game won’t start yet. They need to showcase first their talents in dancing, singing, and virtually anything and everything that they can do regardless of the fact that sometimes contestants make a complete fool of themselves. Because of that, they’ll have instant cash even if the game has not started yet.

The questions during the game are not really mind-boggling as you think they are. It’s usually just for the mere sake of having to ask questions. Of course, it’s for the benefit of most contestants who don’t even have their own televisions at home.

Now, the prizes at stake are really huge. So gigantic that people are willing to join in a long queue and sacrifice a day’s earnings just to be able to join the contest. Willie of Fortune, an apt title for a game that gives luck to those who were born unfortunate in this country.

While Willie is doing an interview with the contestants, his spectators laugh and cry at the same time with them. The show is the live stage of entertainment starring people in poverty and in need.

Undeniably, there’s something in the show that lured more and more viewers. As a matter of fact, his followers varied…from ordinary housewives to Filipinos working abroad.

Sometimes, I shake my head in amazement whenever I hear old women shouting and crying at the same time while hugging and kissing Willie, “Sa wakas, andito na ako…” (At last, I’m already here).

His show is so popular that I could still vividly remember the time when 71 people died and countless others were wounded because of their quest for their dreams. They thought they’ll find it only in Willie’s show. 

It was during the first year anniversary of the show when a stampede killed 71 people- mostly old women and children. It was the promise of millions of prizes that made the crowd crazy with eagerness to be inside the dome. They became uncontrollable until such time that all hell broke loose.

I’m not against with his show but there is a part of me questioning if in a way the show is exploiting stories of those in need.

Willie indubitably helps people forget even for a day their sufferings and problems. However, what exactly are the boundaries of shows like this? Is it proper to ask children very personal questions just for them to be commiserate with?

Oh, yeah. They do serve as an inspiration to many. But, after the show what happens to them? Do they become a better person? How long the prize lasts? A day or two?

It’s indeed a game of life. People play, some win and some lose but everybody got to enjoy…for a grumbling stomach anything at all.


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