Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Keep calm and watch Rihanna

Sometimes, it's nice to live in fantasies inside our heads. Especially if you're a reader.

But, sometimes, we have to wake up and face the truth: No matter how good our fantasies are, they remain in our imagination. Unless it was meant to be or we do something about it.

But some fantasies are meant to be left alone as fantasies.

It's always painful to wake up to reality.

Keep calm and watch Rihanna strut her stuff down the runway.

P.S. Watch how she steals the show at the end of the song. :)

Rihanna - Fresh Out the Runway

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Diary ng Panget OST

Yes, Cross is hot. But I have a soft spot for both Chad and Lory. They made awesome best friends to Eya. Plus Yassi Pressman, the actress who plays Lory, is just so pretty and bubbly. :)

Hermit mode

I've been spending a lot of time on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. So, you know where to find me. I changed my number. And I whittled down my friend lists down to family and one or two friends.

I need to get my head back in the game and start writing again.

And I really should get back to making stuff or thinking of stuff I really want to do.

It does feel that I'm a teenager and I'm trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. So that, someday, when I look back on my life, I know I did everything I could and used my talents to their full capacity.

May God's will be done.

My young adult and new adult faves

So... I have a guilty pleasure that I've been indulging in for a while. Blame it on Meteor Garden?

Meteor Garden
When I fell in love with all things asianovela, Taiwanese, and manga/anime.

Or maybe Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone?

My absolute favorite YA book - Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Maybe I'm just trying to catch up on the fact that there are just so many amazing young adult (target readers are aged 17 and below) and new adult (for ages 18+) literature that is coming out now that I'm dying of envy. Why didn't they have these books when we were kids? (Then again, the first time our high school implemented computer classes was in 4th year and the internet didn't really boom until I was in college and afterwards. Yes, I'm that old. Lol.)

What's so cool about all these writers and creators is that their ages range from the very young (the author of Diary ng Panget wrote it when she was only 19) to people around my age (30somethings). Not sure how old J. K. Rowling was when she wrote the Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter series... What I wish I grew up with. 

Diary ng Panget
It's a toss-up on which I loved more - the books or the movie. :)

But anyway, my point being, I love the fact that kids nowadays (more like teens and those in their 20s and older) have such a vast array of choices of books and films to choose from.

Here are some more of my faves:

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
This is kind of a heavy film so I haven't actually watched it again. But it's definitely a classic.

Beautiful Creatures
There was a time I watched this over and over and over again. Still do.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Runes, nephilim, gorgeous black leather outfits and the cutest couple.

So now... I'm just waiting with bated breath for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone movie and I can die happy.... Wait. I might want to wait until they make Trese into a movie. :)

Trese series written by Budjette Tan and illustrated by Kajo Baldisimo
The most amazing local literature I've ever read. Well, it should say something that my local literature loves are just Nick Joaquin and this. (Yes, it's that good.)

Hmm, did I miss anything? Oh, this is my latest discovery. Warning: New Adult. For ages 18+. The lead character is 19, if I remember correctly.

Foreplay by Sophie Jordan. Well, the title says it all.

Hope you discovered something new and do drop me a line if you have any recommendations for me. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Not a bad thing

Not A Bad Thing
Justin Timberlake

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Never lose your sense of wonder

When the wonder has gone out of a man he is dead. When all comes to all, the most precious element in life is wonder. Love is a great emotion and power is power. But both love and power are based on wonder. Plant consciousness, insect consciousness, fish consciousness, animal consciousness, all are related by one permanent element, which we may call the religious element in all life, even in a flea: the sense of wonder. That is our sixth sense. And it is the natural religious sense.

- D.H. Lawrence, The Phoenix


So that's why children are some of the happiest people around. You can see them getting lost in the moment, no matter what they're doing, be it with nose buried in a book, while playing, or watching a caterpillar on the ground.

Never lose your sense of wonder. And when you are forced to face responsibilites and all boring grown-up stuff, do something to keep your inner child happy.

I watched "Saving Mr. Banks" with my Mom last weekend. And I think the dad was a prime example of someone who tried to keep his inner child alive as hard as he could. Which is also the reason why he had such a huge impact on his daughter, who later wrote "Mary Poppins".

The reality is often cruel and harsh. Especially to dreamers.

The trick is to find your balance and juggle both dreaming and surviving in the world. For me, that's only possible with faith.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

School year 2014

I used to have a gift of sorts. Call it intuition or maybe just some odd computer wiring in the brain that can estimate when things are supposed to or will happen.

When Matt was homeschooling exclusively, and it wasn't doing so well anymore (we crashed and burned while using the PACEs system), I estimated that he should be in regular school when he reached Grade 3.

Well, Matt is 9, and should be in Grade 3 but because of so many delays, illnesses, travel, and family issues, I decided he was only ready for Grade 2 this year.

And, instead of regular school, he's enrolled in a blended learning program.

I'll be honest. It's out of my hands now. Matt and I have given homeschooling our best shot and we were just getting more and more left behind.

Sadly, if we had the tuition fee to enroll him back in 2012 and we had not been going through our biggest trial as a family, and my own trial personally, Matt would have been able to start on the right foot with the new K-12 program.

There's nothing much you can do with regret but feel bad and feel guilty. But I also cannot apologize for how our life unfolded, knowing full well I did what I could.

Maybe it didn't make me into a winner. Maybe I'm just like Garfield, the classic underachiever. 

But I also know there is more to life than just beating yourself up for past mistakes. That's what's being human's all about. Live and learn. As they say, life is the hardest test. Life gives you the exam first before the lessons.

I'm now trying to learn to quelch my protests and whining. As much as I just want to go back to homeschooling, nobody is on my side anymore.

And, as much as it pains me to admit it, Matt is happier now and is getting the education he needs. I don't see it as a failure on both our parts, that homeschooling didn't work for us. If anything, homeschooling has taught us to keep learning, to keep evolving. When homeschooling by itself no longer worked for us, God listened and responded by giving us a school that was perfect for Matt. I really can't complain.

Am I looking forward to handing over the reigns of Matt's education to someone else? No. Am I looking forward to battling it out every morning just to get a taxi out of Pasig? No. Do I look forward to trudging to school rain or shine? No.

But it seems I have been outvoted. And God is asking me to let Him take care of things. As He always has.

I surrender, God. Let Your will be done.

And thank You for all the people around us, Dada included, who love and take care of Matt.

One of my ideals/goals in homeschooling was basic: For Matt to learn what he needs to know and to be happy while learning. Happy learning, I guess.

And if I can't solely give that to him anymore, I guess I need to be a little less greedy and start sharing him with a bigger circle. The rest of the world? Well, that can wait.

May God always lead the way. Amen.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Homeschooling and reality checks

The school year is a month away from wrapping up and Matt and I are barely holding it together.

It's been a tough year on him and I'm pretty proud of how he handled the year. He adjusted to going to a school three days a week, he took exams and quizzes like a champ (we never do exams and quizzes in homeschool), he adjusted to interacting with his schoolmates, and he grew up and matured a lot this past year.

There are some changes happening at his school and I find myself wondering if we should: a. try to enroll him in a new school, b. continue at his school, or c. just go back to homeschooling.

Matt's words at several points this year echoes in my head: "Mom, I'm so glad I go to school now."

There are no more tears and lessons when we're both angry and frustrated. There's no more (not as much anyway) pressure to cram all the learning we can in the 2 hours of homeschool everyday. (I've found that the shorter the lessons are, the more we focus on what's essential and the more likely he'll remember what he learns.)

We try to homeschool at least once a week. But, frustratingly, even if Matt's school is only three times a week, we use up the other two weekdays for reviews for exams and/or homework.

And if three days of homeschool already eats up so much energy, I can't imagine transferring Matt to regular school and having no breaks in the never ending stream of homework and exams. Especially when we've gotten used to the easy pace of homeschooling.

I get it. Life is tough. I get it. We learn as children and adults to do stuff we don't really want to do. That's what life is about, right?

But what if it could be different?

What if instead of going to regular school, you learn the lessons you need to learn (basic stuff like reading, writing, math, basic knowledge in science, history, music, arts, physical education) and then move on to the stuff that you really want to learn? What if kids are encouraged at a young age to find their passions, or at least have the option to explore and discover what they are?

We get so bogged down in what kids need to learn. We dictate and pull them taut like strings on a musical instrument, so wound up tight, it doesn't take much to break them.

And maybe I'm the lazy parent, the laziest homeschooler ever. I see other parents having all these things/accomplishments/goals/skills that their kids can do and I start to feel hopeless and lost.

Maybe I've made the biggest mistake ever. Maybe my son is going to suffer for the rest of his life because we made the mistake of homeschooling him.

But I really, honestly, from the bottom of my heart, can't believe that.

I have always walked by faith. Even when I didn't go to mass or didn't pray as often as I'd like. I forget a lot of the traditional prayers a Catholic upbringing has given me.

But I know, without a doubt, that my son has that same strong faith as I do. I know he's such a stickler for what's right and wrong and I'm amazed that he is brave and has no qualms of expressing himself. Sometimes, I wish I were more like him.

I guess I just needed to lay this down because I can't sleep, again. I can't sleep and sometimes, I torture myself by looking at all the curricula and educational materials online. I look at all the bookmarked websites I've saved, all the lessons and knowledge I've always been interested in so I figure my son might like them too. Maybe, as parents, that's one thing we do too much of. We want to give them everything, even if that means cramming the knowledge, skills, and experiences we always wanted for ourselves into them. Sometimes, sadly, some parents will even force their children to live their unfulfilled dreams.

Truth? The only unfulfilled dreams I have now which I want Matt to learn?

To find happiness and meaning in life. To have a faith so strong that no matter what events, people, circumstance, storms come into his life, he will be whole and be able to survive. To do what he loves. To be a good, God-fearing person who spreads joy and light in the world.

See, the problem is, I already see these things in him. I can only hope and pray he continues to be this way, and I have the faith that he will, because we taught him one basic thing. And that's faith.

So on to the question are we going to torture ourselves for another year of blended learning? Are we going to go back to the dungeon and homeschool again?

I really don't know.

I'm still weighing everything in my head and I still haven't solved anything. After all this time, after all this life I've lived, I realize one thing: I don't really know anything. That's why it's easier just to let God lead the way.

I torture myself with worries, insomnia, more worrying, worrying about what other people will say or do or think (not easy when you're a homeschooler). I worry about Matt, what the right place is for him, what is best for him, and what is best for his future. I worry about our finances (never enough) and how that has been our primary reason for homeschooling for several years now, maybe even since the beginning. And I worry if Matt will grow to resent me for not being able to give him the future he deserves and the lessons he needs/ed to learn, both in and out of the classroom.

See, I'm human. I worry a whole lot. I stay up and I worry some more.

But God is good. He takes pities on me. And when I can't stand the craziness anymore, He tells me to try and sleep and let Him handle it. Because He always does. And He always knows what's best.

We just pretend to be driving the car. When, as Bo Sanchez once wrote, we're actually like his son at the backseat, with his toy steering wheel, thinking we're the ones driving the car.

Let His will be done. Always. Amen.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

What is important to teach our kids...

"It is my deep desire that the topic 'How Your Thoughts Work,' be the very first subject taught in school. I have never understood the importance of having children memorize battle dates. It seems such a waste of mental energy. Instead, we could teach them important subjects such as How the Mind Works, How to Handle Finances, How to Invest Money for Financial Security, How to Be a Parent, How to Create Good Relationships, and How to Create and Maintain Self-Esteem and Self-Worth.
Can you imagine what a whole generation of adults would be like if they had been taught these subjects in school along with their regular curriculum? Think how these truths would manifest. We would have happy people who feel good about themselves. We would have people who are comfortable financially and who enrich the economy by investing their money wisely. They would have good relationships with everyone and would be comfortable with the role of parenthood and then go on to create another generation of children who feel good about themselves. Yet within all this, each person would remain an individual expressing his or her own creativity."

- p. 44, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I wish I could be like the cool kids...

Cool Kids

I forgot what movie it was but there was a line that goes: "You never grow up from high school." And I guess, to a certain extent, that's true. We never really get over our hang-ups, our barkada (cliques, friends), our dreams. This song reminded me of that.