a year of freefalling

Photo by Willy Family

So sorry to post and go, but I just want to drop a quick shout out to my beloved blog, born exactly a year ago, and still one of the most beautiful things that ever happened to me.

Thank you, thank you, for this opportunity to share my scattered thoughts. And oh, today's my birthday too :)

all i want for christmas

When I was a little girl, Christmas mornings were always the highlight of my year, the time when all of us kids will open our presents. I believed in Santa Claus and held on to that belief for as long as I could, even if I secretly knew that it was only my parents and grandparents who kept putting presents under our Christmas tree. Santa was just my excuse to make a Christmast list.

And my Christmas lists were loooong. I would write anything from an autographed photo of Romnick and Jennifer, who were my favorite couple in those days (Dae, I'm with you for a That's revival!), to something as far-fetched as spending a week in Switzerland so I could see Heidi and her grandfather's cottage. Heidi is a character from a children's book written by Johanna Spyri. I was obsessed with this book for awhile and the idea of running wild and free in those Alpine meadows seemed like heaven to me. Yeah, I've always been this geeky and delusional even as a kid, haha.

So anyways, because its Christmas and it's gonna be my birthday soon, I thought it would be fun to make another one of those lists. This of course was inspired by Irish and Dae who also posted their wish lists in the blogosphere. I will try to keep it within the bounds of reality, but a little magical thinking wouldn't hurt right? Here's my grown-up Christmas list:
  1. I really want to write and speak Spanish! And if I could read Lorca and Neruda in its orginal form (meaning Espanyol), I'd be the happiest girl in the world. Seriously. But in order to do that, I have to start somewhere. So I got those audio CDs from the Pimsleur Language Series last month and since I'm already done with Lessons 1-8, I'm hoping to start with Conversational Spanish next year. These CDs, in my opinion, are even better than actual classes because you can do them at your own pace, whenever and wherever.
  2. A Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. The best camera in the world, even if I don't really know anything about cameras. Or if this is too much to ask, I will also accept cash donations for my camera fund :P
  3. Amanda Castleman's travel writing classes.
  4. Clothes, accessories or home decors from Anthropologie. I am in love with this shop and I could stay here for hours, eventhough I could never buy anything here without feeling guilty about it. The cost of this cute little top, for example, is enough to feed a family of five in the Philippines. But its good for window-shopping at least.
  5. Home fragrance oils and tea lights from The Body Shop.
  6. Those little treasures from Planetweavers or Magnetic Poetry.
  7. As for the non-material things, I really want a consistent, 8 hours of sleep per day. I am so tired of walking around sleep-deprived all the time, so help me God. And as always, peace of mind and good health for me and my loved ones.

See, I'm a pretty easy to please. Or you could always buy me a McSweeney's subscription, and I will love you forever! *wink, wink*

but the truth is...

I would have given all of those up, and many times over, if I could have this:

Chistmas in the Philippines
Art by Ala Paredes

For where else can one have simbang gabi, budbud and tsokolate, kids singing the same carols over and over again, stars everywhere, real and unaffected laughter, and the warmth and chaos of being with the people you love the most?

In the Philippines, where everyone always finds a reason to celebrate and be with each other, there's never been a happier season than Christmas.

less than perfect

Scuffed. Scraped. Scratched. Dinged. *Insert more synonyms here*.

Whatever it's called, it only means one thing: my car is now less than perfect. I know, I know. I should let it go. Its just a scrape (albeit a very obvious one). And its all a part of the wonderful art of parking in San Francisco. Add the rain, the early morning fog, a sleep-deprived therapist hurrying for an IEP (yours truly of course) and there you go. It could have been worse.

But still. I'm a little bitter. I don't want to spend unnecessarily on a paint job. Yet I don't think I can stand seeing an obvious scrape (or scuff or whatever) on my car either. Maybe when it gets older, but not now.

So remind me again, why did I decide to get a car while living in this city?

on the upside

Only one more school day and its time for my winter break! Don't you just love working for a school district? I'm looking forward to spending time with family and friends, home-cooked Filipino meals, some NYC (and maybe Washington DC) wandering, and frolicking in the snow.

And oh, maybe even ice skating!

Photo by S Ryo on Flickr

insomnia musings

I can't sleep. Again. And I have to wake up at 6:30 am, join a crab walking competition with my kids (because I promised them that we'll have the finale this week, whatever that means :P), write and mail the rest of my holiday cards, and attend a dinner party for our therapy unit in the evening. Aargghhh...

Maybe I should just get this over with and take Tylenol pm. Hee.

Seriously, I hate how sleep is so hard to come by these days, especially when I really want it. Maybe I should cut the caffeine. Duh. But I only drink coffee in the mornings though, that doesn't even count right? And I only drink it to stay awake and keep up with my uber-energetic little munchkins, who, no matter how many crab walks and wall push-ups and every other heavy work activities known to school-based therapists I give them, are still bouncing off the walls and asking a thousand questions per minute.

Today, one of my third-graders asked me again if I have kids (of my own). Kids always ask me this question, I don't know why. I said no. And I wanted to add, not any time soon. Certainly not for a long time. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love working with kids and they teach me so much more than I could ever teach them, but at the same time I just can't imagine coming home and having to take care of your own child after a long day's work. Especially if you work in the schools just like we do. I don't know how other pediatric therapists or teachers can do it, it seems almost impossible.

But enough on the subject of children for now. Its getting really cold here in San Francisco and I wish I could be somewhere warm, perhaps in one of those 7,107 islands right across the Pacific. My theory about my mood being directly proportional to the sun is obviously being tested at this time of the year, although it doesn't seem like it'll be as bad as it was last winter. That was just pure misery. I got very sick and almost Iost my voice the week before Christmas and it was a torture trying to talk to my family on the phone because they couldn't understand a word that I was saying. Hopefully that won't happen again, I've been very diligent with taking my vitamin Cs.

Speaking of getting sick, one of our kids (I guess we're back to the subject of children again) was taken to the hospital last week because of a throat infection and I just learned tonight that she is now critically ill although her doctors doesn't know what's wrong with her yet. I can't even imagine our little 7-year old lying in the ICU with tubes all over her. The last time I saw her she was happily playing tag at the playground, with her cute little braids bouncing up and down behind her. I shudder to think what her parents must feel right now, especially since no really knows what's going on with her yet. It's really sad. The only thing that I could do was to say a prayer for her. And for her family.

Please include them in your prayers as well.

a reason to smile

Photo courtesy of UNICEF

This day felt like it would never end. My feet ached from walking all over my schools, navigating playgrounds otherwise known as "the ultimate obstacle course" (according to my little kiddos), and sorting through piles of paperwork. And then I saw this picture and I couldn't help but smile.

Aren't they precious?

december is here!

'Tis the season to be busy.

I've been running around like a madwoman these days, going from school to school, attending IEPs, completing assessments, making home programs, etc. The usual craziness. Add to that, I'm also slowly checking things off my holiday list - buying gifts, writing cards, calling friends in the East Coast to let them know that I'll be there for the holiday break, calling my family back home in the Philippines (thus adding to my ever-increasing phone bill), and so many other things. The way things are going now, I'm pretty sure that I'll be broke by the end of this month. But no matter. December is my favorite time of the year and I love finding that special gift for each of my loved ones.

Despite of my hectic schedule, or maybe because of it, I did find time for my "meaningful occupations," stealing precious moments here and there. Today I spent the entire afternoon wandering around in two of my favorite parks - first at Golden Gate Park then later at Alamo Square. I had planned on writing a little but of course I ended up spending more time staring into space instead, which I reasoned is also a huge part of writing (haha!).

And oh, I did take lots of pictures. Words may be hard to come by these days, but pictures sure aren't. In fact, for the nth time, I wish that I had a better camera to capture every little detail of the blessings that I saw today:

Shadow Play at the Lily Pond

Colors of Fall

A Beautiful Sunset

See the rest of the pictures here.