Sunday, July 6, 2008

Settled With An Urge To Dive

Just when I'm finally starting to own this reinvented life I've recently made, the ocean beckons, prodding me to take a dive. I've been enjoying my sweet time walking on the shore, finding seashells, despite the occasional stormy weather. I don't know if I could muster the strength and gain the wisdom to rough it up in the deep waters again.

I need to make a decision about it soon, a stand upon which other aspects of my life hinge. I know too well that everything is connected to everything else. Hard as I try to compartmentalize, my very essence affects the whole universe I am in.

Yet, how do I decide?

Should I look for signs everywhere and let them speak to me? If this is the way to go, then the signs I see are egging me on to take the plunge.

Should I ask myself what do I want? Is this even a fair question, knowing that I have responsibilities to others? What do I owe my family? society? myself? I know I cannot please everybody, but if there was one that should be at the top of my hierarchy of values, who should it be? Going back to the question, what do I want? Balance in life, which I am already slowly learning to achieve. And then this, the possibility again of losing what I've worked hard for.

Should I listen to what well-meaning people may have to say? Or do I just trust my own voice?

What about things I cannot plan, cannot predict? Do I leave it all up to chance, to fate, to faith? And then hope that there is a divine something, someone looking after me and taking care of me.

I don't know.
How will I know?

And when I finally make that decision, will it lead me to my happiness?

I don't know.

I'm feeling: an inner tug of war.
I'm listening to: KT Tunstall's Someday Soon.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Confounding compounds

I am dumbfounded by this song from Counting Crows. Utterly eloquent and, well, hits home bull's-eye.


I am colorblind
Coffee black and egg white
Pull me out from inside
I am ready
I am ready
I am ready
I am
Taffy-stuck and tongue-tied
Stutter-shook and uptight
Pull me out from inside
I am ready
I am ready
I am ready
I am...fine
I am covered in skin
No one gets to come in
Pull me out from inside
I am folded, and unfolded, and unfolding
I am
Coffee black and egg white
Pull me out from inside
I am ready
I am ready
I am ready
I am...fine
I am.... fine
I am fine

I'm feeling:
this song on repeat mode.
I'm listening to: myself say the song's last line.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The School Bell Rings Again

Nope, I didn't fall off a cliff or anything dramatic like that.

School started this week and I've just had to keep up with the rhythm of the new season. It's crazy how the ebb tide at work has once again stirred a whirlpool of internal doubt, uncertainty, and anxiety. But not to worry, I think I thrive best in an environment that lets me face my fears. Hopefully, I come out of it, scathed maybe, but a wiser and richer learner.

Anyway, it's been exciting to have the kids back in school, and I can't wait to see the walls peppered with their wonderful creations. The five-year-olds have been a joy to be with; I am floored at how candid but honest they can be. Many of the younger ones have adjusted to their school routines and took to their new world easily. Of course there are still some children who like the idea of going to school but are still mastering how to let go of their security blanket. Believe me, I know the feeling. But I know, too, that this will soon pass.

As we were busy dealing with our back-to-school blues, I finally got lucky reconnecting with some of my first batch of students who are in college now. Imagine, these now adults are still calling me teacher, when twelve years ago I had no clue if I was doing any teaching at all, whether I had more hits than misses in the pedagogical sense. I found the answer when each of them shared their own short story about what they remember most when they were first graders.

Meanwhile, my students from last year who are now going to the big school for the first time have their own success tales to tell about their huge transition. Their parents have been sending messages about how bravely they embraced their new role, how eager they are to learn, and how independent they have turned out to be. One mom said: She likes her new school and teacher but says will love you and Creative Explorers forever.

What a week it has been. In a word, it was a reunion for me. I got acquainted again with our present school community, reestablished communication with my former students, and most importantly, I was reminded again why I teach. It's not about the lessons written on my weekly plans; rather, it's simply the good and happy things that children learn about themselves that really matter.

I'm feeling: the passion again.
I'm listening to: the passion again.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Our sun is in a gray hue
Do you see it?
I do.
I'm tired of feeling nothing

Do you see it?
The empty looks
I'm tired of feeling nothing
I need more than your words

The empty looks
I need more than your words
What ever happened to our

Our sun is in a gray hue
What ever happened to our
I do.

I'm feeling: drawn out.
I'm listening to: that part of myself which really matters.

Monday, June 9, 2008

About Mom

I'm home alone for the three-day-weekend. The kids, together with my husband and his family, have hied off to a rest house up north to have their last vacation before school begins. I have to hand it to my husband to understand my need for space, but I digress.

I hopped on over to my parents' house before lunch yesterday and spent lazy time mostly with my mom. She made sure to cook one of my favorite chicken recipes (the one with chorizo de bilbao and mushrooms!) and served two of the yummiest fruits around, santol and cherries.

After lunch, she napped while I blog-hopped. I joined her after a while and woke up feeling renewed. She had agreed to accompany me to buy curtains for school, and she was ready to go when I got up from bed.

She let me drive for her, too, an occasional phenomenon. See, she's one tough cookie, so independent and free-spirited. On our way to the shop, I told her I've been experimenting with eyeliner and asked her if she liked it. She said yes, but hesitated that it was the eyeliner; she said my eyes looked rested because I napped. She went on about not being able to get enough sleep since she had children, and I was nodding my head behind the wheel, thinking about how I woke up at 5:30 in the morning that day.

We talked about my kids going back to school soon and reminisced about how she would prepare labels for my books and notebooks with her own calligraphy. I was still nodding because I vividly remember being proud of her handwriting, showing off to my classmates her masterpiece imprinted on my school stuff. At this point, I reminded myself that I had two books to lend her, both about our lives as women, about loving others and respecting ourselves. She'd like that, she said.

When we got to our destination, she tried to talk me into considering a certain style she had in mind for the curtains. She attempted twice but she gave in after I firmly told her that I knew what I was doing. I knew she forced herself to keep quiet because just two days before, I was in a similar scenario with my daughter at the beauty parlor. Reisa finally agreed to get a haircut, but had me promise that no more than two inches would be trimmed. Hushed and obliging, I sat through the whole procedure, remembering to keep my vow.

After our trip to the curtain store, I drove back to her house and had a snack of fried bananas. She asked me to stay for dinner, and I knew she really wanted me to keep her company. I went back and forth about giving in, but duty called. I told her the truth: I had to go home because there's a pile of books and notebooks that I had to label before my daughter goes back to school in a couple of days.

And there it was, right before me. I realized...I am my mother's daughter. More so, I have become my mother. Judging from the way I was whistling on my drive back home, I knew... what I've become isn't so bad at all.

I'm feeling: like a child again.
I'm listening to: The Shins.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I'm taking a quick break from work to have a little fun. I've been sitting in front of my laptop the whole day--my back hurts, my eyes are red from their workout, and my mind is racing and picking up the pace by the minute.

It's time for an impromptu number.

There are just 10 more days of summer left,
Making 9 staff members anticipate the start of a new cycle.
8 letters in the word creative,
7 in the verb explore.
6 women friends, both teachers and learners
In 5 classes,
or is it 4?
Takes 3 children to spell the difference.
2 classrooms that will hold children's smiles and laughters
in 1 school year, no less, no more.

I'm feeling: hopeful.
I'm listening to: Nirvana in my iPod.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Preschool Send-off Checklist

If you're a parent who'll soon be bringing your child to preschool for the first time, please get a copy of Smart Parenting, June issue. I contributed a checklist of things parents need to prepare for before that big send-off to school. Entitled "I'm Ready for School!," the guide includes questions you need answered and helpful tips in the following areas:

First Day Blues and Clues: the critical first weeks of classes
The Daily Details: the routines of schooling
The School Supplies: everything material
The Emergency Toolbox: information you'll need, just in case
Home-School Partnership: yes, it is a PARTNERSHIP
The Intangible Backpack: preparing your child in all other aspects

Take a deep breath, co-parents. This is a milestone, not only for our young children, but for us as well. :)

I'm feeling: sentimental about River being in kinder this year.
I'm listening to: River's footsteps as he inches his way to my room.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Got up in the wee hours of the morning and couldn't go back to sleep. I'm still hung over this song from yesterday's activity in school. I'm glad I found this video...the teachers will be thrilled.

If I could add lines to this song, these are some top-of-mind ideas I have for now:

Happiness is...
...eating pasta and not having to keep a calorie count.
..."okay, mom!"
...getting eight hours of sleep.
...watching the moon from my bedroom window.
...big ideas for a better world.
...big ideas for a better me.
...ticking off items in my to-do list.
...a new box of sharpened colored pencils.
...Once, the movie and the soundtrack.
...taking naps.
...a hearty laugh with friends.
...a heartfelt cry with friends.
...Saturday afternooons.
...hugs and kisses from Reisa and River.
...being in love like the very first time.
...being in love.

What is happiness to you?

I'm feeling: like going back to bed.
I'm listening to: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tribute to the Gym

I've been going regularly to the gym since July of last year. It started as an effort to trim down a bit and lose the extra pounds. My friends will kill me if they read that last sentence because I don't really put on weight like other people my age do. Credit goes to my fast metabolism, I suppose, although I swear, it has somehow slowed down in the past years.

Anyway, the reason for the thrice-a-week visits to the gym was because I began noticing that I tired faster. Being a teacher-mom requires physical exertion; running after kids being the most demanding of all. I felt then that I wasn't as quick and as bouncy as I used to be.

At first I went for the dance classes and spent increasing time at the treadmill. I literally danced like no one was watching. It was liberating to have your own small space to make your moves to Beyonce and Shakira tunes, and to find that there were thirty others in the room who were having a grand time as well. I had to part with the treadmill after two months because I was doing too much cardiovascular training.

The next group exercise I discovered were the weight lifting classes. I've never considered myself a strong person; quick to move, maybe, but not powerful. I don't really do heavy weights but I've slowly increased my load from the time I started. Push-ups that used to be my Achilles' heel are now one of my favorite portions of the routine. I've noticed too that my abs, triceps and biceps are already taking shape.

A new gym activity I'm loving now is the tai-chi/yoga/pilates combo class that really challenged my flexibility in the beginning. I'm still nowhere near being Mrs. Incredible, but I learned from that class the importance of balancing and breathing, of ridding the mind of worries, of quieting the soul. I didn't know before how the body, mind, and spirit could move together with such grace.

It's ironic how a sense of calm envelopes me at the gym amidst the blaring & pumping sounds from the background. More than the aerobic activity itself, it's the exercise of physically detaching myself from responsibility, and immersing myself in pleasure, strength-building, and solitude that keeps me going back. It's the time and place I've set aside for my lone self.

The gym gives me more than just a workout. More importantly, it's a work in.

I'm feeling: the fact that I haven't exercised in six days.
I'm listening to: no reason why I can't go tomorrow.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

In The Company of Women

The teachers and I are on to something. We had agreed to improve on our faculty lounge, to make it more of a haven, a sanctuary that's separate from the battlefield that is the classroom. A safe room that we can run to when we want some peace and quiet. A time out that we call for ourselves.

Whether single, married, with or without children, we all committed to transforming the teacher's lounge into a sensual and soulful feast for the six teachers who will occupy it for the school year. For our well-being, not as teachers, but as women.

I like it.

Here are some ideas that we thought we could add in the room:
  • Eye candy such as flowers, a display of artwork and photos
  • Mood music to fill our tired ears
  • Mouth fest of sweets such as cookies, chocolates, and other yummy treats for sharing
  • Delightful scents like potpourri, candles, and oils
  • Feel-good pillows and fabric for the couch, quaint curtains
  • Soul food in the form of books, poetry, inspirational thoughts, or personal stories to tell
It's rather amazing how each one of us is able to relate to this need. We are so different and yet the same. Women.

I'm feeling: the need to pamper myself.
I'm listening to: the voice that's telling me 'Go!'