Wednesday, September 30, 2009

From Helpless to Helpful

Well, September '09 has ended in a disconcerting flurry of island disasters, and they are all heartbreaking. It's easy to fall into despair, what with all the videos, photographs, ostensible government indifference and/or ineptitude, and individual stories of devastation. But why loll about in the quicksand Pit of Despair when you are perfectly capable of doing something? Send money? Sure! Send a little more? Why not! And then, of course, you can fill up a box with your used clothing and shoes and blankets and whatnot, and bring it to one of these drop-off spots. It will then be delivered—in most cases FREE—to the victims of Typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines.

Here's a list of drop-off points especially for all you Filipino and Filipino-friendly Californians. I pulled this directly from Moongirl, whose extensive list includes several ways for those of us who are not Philippine-based to help. You can check here whole list out here, but this is the California section:

California (Burlingame): MANILA BOX USA is now accepting donations in kind & will provide FREE shipping to Manila. Items will be sent by Sea Cargo and will delivered to the Whitespace Relief Center/Mar Roxas Headquarters in Cubao. Please drop them off at their warehouse: 361 Beach Road Burlingame , CA 94010 or call (650)342-2858. Please pack them in boxes for easier handling. Business hours Mon-Fri 9am-6pm

California (Carson/Hermosa Beach): We are collecting donations to send to flood victims in Manila. Our goal is to fill up a 40ft container in one week with new or used clothing,shoes, blankets,medicines,canned food items, etc. Dropoff Location : 205 West Torrance Blvd, Carson, CA 90745. We will be setting up a booth on Oct 3, 2009 at the Substance event in Hermosa Beach CA.

California (Cerritos): Our house is temp drop off point while we find a bigger venue. We’ll facilitate immediate shipment to Manila. Thank you in advance for your help. Pls pass. Dino & Jan Home:16622 Amberwood Way Cerritos, CA 90703; (562)404-0625

California (Hayward): Fil-Am Invitational BasketballLeague(FIBL) will send out relief goods in the philippines for the victims of the floods cause by typhoon ondoy…. if you want to make a donation clothing,canned goods or money please bring it on sunday 10/04/09 @ el rancho gym 541 blanche st. hayward ca. from 2:00 – 6:00pm please visit our website for direction

California (Daly City): Please contact Ryan Leano (626)534-4971. Liwanag Cultural Center, Hillside Park Clubhouse, 222 Lausanne Ave., Daly City‎, CA‎ 94014.

California (LA): Relief goods accepted in LA! ANSWER ofc, 137 Virgil St, Rm 203, Los Angeles, CA

California (LA): TULONG SA PILIPINAS (STP): Accepting donations cash or check. Send to People’s CORE, 1610 Beverly Blvd. Suite No 2, Los Angeles, Ca 90026. Donations more than $50 is tax deductible. Material donations drop off ( donations; shoes, clothes, canned goods. medicines etc. ) at ANSWER LA office at 137 Virgil St. Room 203 , Los Angeles, CA 900042.

California (LA): Manila Forwarder will provide free balikbayan box shipment to Philippine National Red Cross, churches, and other government agencies directly responsible with relief operations. Please drop off the relief goods at: Manila Forwarder Headquarters, 4249 Eagle Rock Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90065, 1.800.210.1019323.478.1599

California (Oakland): Please contact Ryan Leano (626)534-4971. Asian Pacific Islander Youth Promoting Advocacy & Leadership. Attn: Armael Malinis, AnakBayan-East Bay. 310 8th Street, Suite 215. Oakland, CA 94710

California (San Diego): Alas Cargo 3126 E Plaza Blvd National City, CA 91950 (619) 470-1023; Eastern Express 8965 Mira Mesa Blvd (858) 578-8567

California (San Francisco): Stanford’s Pilipino American Student Union (PASU) is also collecting donations to be sent to the Philippines to help victims of Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana). If you would like to make a donation, please contact AV David at or (650) 491-4561.

California (San Francisco): Click here.

California (San Francisco): Manila Forwarder will provide free balikbayan box shipment to Philippine National Red Cross, churches, and other government agencies directly responsible with relief operations. Please drop off the relief goods at: Manila Forwarder Northern California, 5750 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94112. Tel: 510-750-3036 / Tel: 209-3499576 / Tel: 415-239-9576

California (West Covina): Bamboo Bistro, 1559 E Amar Rd, West Covina, CA 91792. (626) 810-6131


I eagerly await tonight's episode of Glee because Glee makes me impossibly gleeful. A tonic for the times, as it were. If only it weren't on FOX...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Post In Which I Use A Bad Word. Twice.

You know which day I have enjoyed most in the past few days? Saturday. We had to wake up early for Lea's 8:00 soccer game, but never mind! The child scored three goals—three! her first ever!—an occurrence we probably could have predicted, considering she is a whole head taller than most of the other players. But never mind! Why must I place caveats everywhere?

The big girls' game wasn't until much later, leaving me plenty of time for the PAWA/Arkipelago Reading at the Bayanihan Community Center. The afternoon's stellar lineup included poets Oliver de la Paz, Mari L'Esperance, and Joseph O. Legaspi, and musician Theresa Calpotura. You can see video and pictures here at the PAWA blog. I've been waving to Oliver from cyberspace for years now, so it was especially nice to meet The Actual Him. And the same goes for Joseph, who is blindingly charming, and who read a poem about watermelon that made me happy. As usual, I was deprived of the chance to mingle, as I had to skedaddle back home to catch the second soccer game. But I was able to purchase copies of Oliver's Furious Lullaby, and Joseph's Imago, and so should you.

So, this was really weird: Risa and Vida's team went up 4 to 0 before the half, at which point their coach would no longer let anybody cross midfield. The girls would run, run, run, and then stop at the line as if there were some sort of invisible fence (just like in LOST!). We soon realized it was because he didn't want to run up the score and thus dishearten the opposing players. It was the right thing to do, but I don't think the other side was particularly happy when it became clear that R & V's team had basically stopped playing. Of course, this couldn't last for long, and both Risa and Vida and another girl ended up scoring, after which they were called to the sidelines and gently admonished by their coach. The other team never did score and, yes, some of their players were in tears at the end, but I don't know. The whole thing was a little icky.

The NOT icky thing was that my adored little cousin and her hubbbband came to cheer the girls on, and then we went to eat at Rave Burger. Yes to sweeeeeeet potato fries! Yes to garlic fries! Yes to my "Chicken on Grass" sandwich, which was just a chicken breast topped with sauteed spinach and garlic! Yes! Yes!

And then we all went home and watched the Mayweather/Marquez bout, and I STILL do not care for Mr. Floyd. Mr. Floyd is distinctly unpleasant, entitled, and rude. When he fights Manny Pacquiao, I will be curled up in a ball peeking at the screen through my fingers, and I will be screaming and carrying on and making all sorts of bargains with the powers-that-be ("I promise if Manny Pacquiao wins, I will never think badly of anyone's shoes ever again. I promise if Manny Pacquiao wins, I will never secretly smirk at women who have landscapes painted on their nails. I promise, I promise."). Mark me well, for I do not lie.

After Mayweather's win, we turned our attention to what is surely one of the worst Jason Statham movies ever, and CERTAINLY the worst Joan Allen film ever: Death Race. Just when I thought it couldn't get any more unintentionally hilarious, Jason would...I don't a bunch of shirtless pull-ups FOR NO REASON AT ALL. Or Joan would call Jason a "cocksucker," and I would think, "My God, Joan Allen, you once acted alongside Daniel Day Lewis, and now you're standing in front of Jason Statham and calling him a cocksucker."

And then I went to sleep.


MISCELLANEOUS 1: You want to know what I loved about Trader Joe's today? They played the Hawaii 5-0 theme song, and for some reason it filled me with a sense of purpose, and I sped all over the store, menu-planning as I went, and now I do not have to go to the store for the rest of the week. Maybe. And also, there was a lovely senior citizen lady working there, and really she was such a senior citizen that she moved very, very, very slowly while straightening out the bags of tortilla chips, but it was obviously her birthday because she was wearing a birthday crown (like with candles sticking up and everything), and it made me want to cry. And also, because of Joseph O. Legaspi, I bought a watermelon.


MISCELLANEOUS 2: Don't hate my new shoes because they're beautiful:

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Post In Which I Weigh In On Weighing In

A few days ago I was enjoying my weekly magazine flip-fest at a nearby bookstore, when I happened upon an article in a women's magazine (I think it was Allure), that displayed side-by-side, passport-style photos of female twins. Out of each pair, there was one twin who looked much younger than the other. Regardless of whether the twins were in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s, the older-looking one was inevitably lax about sunscreen, or was a smoker, or had been through a divorce or some other type of stressful situation. No real surprise, there. Ho hum. Yawn, scritch, daydream. BUT it turns out there was an additional factor at play. It was the big bang of the article, if you like, or its Ripley's believe-it-or-not moment. And here it is: in those twins who were UNDER the age of 40, it was inevitably the thinner one who appeared younger. But for those who were OVER the age of 40, it was always the heavier one who seemed kissed by the morning dew.

So I'm gonna go ahead and have a brownie now, thanks.

I kid! I prank! I am NOT going to have a brownie because I still experience some residual weight terror. You see, during my 6 weeks or so of mononucleosis misery, I lost 10.6 (look how ridiculously important it is to me to include that ".6"; that is how fraught with fraughtiness this subject remains) pounds. I know this because after the ordeal, it felt for all the world like I was walking out of my pants. Like I was in serious danger of leaving my pants behind me on the street. And so I hooked up the dusty iFit (we don't have a scale) to check my weight, and there it was in high definition: I'd lost 10.6 pounds. It was obviously all water and muscle, but did that realization keep me from feeling elated about the whole thing? No, it did not. All I knew is that I could wear ANYTHING in my closet. My friends joked that they, too, wanted to go on the "Mono Diet."

But then you know what happened? For the next 4 weeks—and I do not exaggerate here; not one bit—I was terrified to eat. Which is SUCH a bullshit thing. I love to eat. I love to cook. And I am an active person who dutifully records her hours of Intentional Movement (laugh if you like, but doesn't it sound more fun than "Exercise?") over at And here are some other reasons why it was SUCH a bullshit thing: I don't particularly care for butter or margarine or sour cream or whipped cream or any kind of cream, really, including ice cream. I have the Asian Flu, so therefore I do not drink alcohol of any kind. It's true that fried and/or crispy foods add a dimension of delight to my life, however I keep them to a manageable minimum. In short, I should NOT be terrified to eat.

I slowly got over it, and with the exception of an occasional day when the aforementioned residual terror rears up and screams at me, I am back to eating like a normal person. I haven't weighed myself again, but I would imagine that I've probably gained back five pounds or so. And that's fine. I was fine before, and I'm fine now, and I really don't ever want to think about this again because it is SUCH bullshit.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Post In Which I Somehow End Up Referencing Firefighters

Now that the school auction is over, I've turned my attention back to hearth and home just in time to prevent the five-foot-high pile of laundry from toppling over and injuring one of the children. It's been like this every year for the past six years and it's comforting, in a way, to know ahead of time that this portion of September will be spent rescuing my house from itself and re-calibrating the rhythm of daily family life.

Speaking of family life, it's come to my attention that I no longer have a baby. Lea may still pronounce her name "Waya," and people may still sometimes have difficulty deciphering her sentences ("park" is still "pahk," for example), but there is no denying her newly acquired second-grade swagger. She's been asking if maybe she should visit the speech therapist, and her instinct is probably right, but it makes me so sad.

As for the twinkers, they are obsessed with...cartwheels. Have I mentioned this before? That they turn at least a hundred cartwheels a day? WHY do they do this? It forces me to sound like The Crankiest And Most OCD Woman Alive: "Wash your hands. Go wash your hands. You need to wash your hands. You better wash your hands. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands."

Hey, guess what we bought at the auction? We bought firefighters. They come to your house in their firetruck, and they BBQ stuff for you, and then they chase you around with their, um, firefighter hose while you scream.

You are so very jealous right now.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A List Written While Watching Anderson Cooper

In the time since I last updated my blog, the following things have occurred:

1) Gray hair popped up all over my head. I have had no time to correct this grave mistake of Mother Nature, but I have managed to waste several minutes musing on the fact that post-40 personal upkeep is annoying, time-consuming, and expensive. *waves fists at the heavens*

2) Some joker in Congress called our President a liar. Not only is this bad form, it's...bad form. And there's nothing worse than bad form. Plus, it just really, really, really pissed me off.

3) I purchased an iron. We have not had an iron in this house for at least a year. I'm staring at it now; it's like sculpture. Home sculpture.

4) I read A Mouse and His Motorcycle to Lea.

5) I squealed with delight when Risa's teacher informed us that the class would be reading Island of the Blue Dolphins.

6) I successfully ignored several phone calls from my dentist's office because I don't want to go to my cleaning, and I don't want a new crown (unless it sits on my head, is jewel-encrusted, and indicates that people must kneel before me), and I don't want to be miserable.

7) I wrapped prosciutto around asparagus and grilled it on the stovetop.

8) I surprised myself by being mentally prepared for the inevitable meltdowns each of my children undergoes as they get used to being in school for seven hours a day. I breathed in, I breathed out, I breathed in, I breathed out.

9) I became distracted by that slightly nuts CNN war correspondent with the crooked nose.

10) I bought a hat.

I'm lying! I'm lying! I did not buy a hat.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

See Ya, Summer

We're in the middle of back-to-school week, and the going has been refreshingly smooth. Of course, with all the preparation we did, I wouldn't have expected less. There was, first of all, The Great Sprinkles Event:

During this event, we consumed pricey, calorie-laden cupcakes and stuck the famous Sprinkles polka dots on the tips of our noses. Like so:

Treat gorging was quickly followed by The Afternoon de Appliques:

This afternoon consisted of much quiet cursing on my part, as I did not have the best scissors for cutting felt. But never mind! We succeeded in elevating the average lunchbox into...the average lunchbox with felt glued to the front of it. Yay us!

There was also the Infamous Day of Sartorial School Shopping. I have no pictures of this day, as I was too fully engrossed in the task at hand. I took the girls one at a time (switching off with the SU, who was in charge of procuring soccer cleats and shin guards), and I ended up clocking in 6 hours. That's a lot of...retail.

And then there was The Great Hair Adventure:

Isn't that creepy? Seeing those three ponytails laying there like that? They are currently sitting in a bag on my dresser, but I will shortly (haha!) send them as a donation to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program. There are 26 inches of it, after all.

This frenzy of generally pleasant activity culminated in..ta-da!...The First Day of School:

And we're off...