Friday, August 31, 2007


I had an early dinner with my baby sister Yvette last night. We got to talking about our kids and birthdays, and what holidays were coming up. After looking at some online Halloween costumes for the kiddies, we started joking about what we'd wear this year. I suggested: how about we go to work in black and call ourselves CUC?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Monday, August 27, 2007

Blog Wars Must End. NOW!

Jane and Jeff got pilloried (I had to look that up),
Deece got de-linked,
Someone said EJ drinks too much (not),
Operation Rota banned Boni,
Angelo has been exiled (tee-hee, I made that up)
Can't you see the vicious cycle?

It's time to band together and act as one.
Liberals and Conservatives and those in between,
Satirists and philosophers,
those who make money and those who make funny.

Take it from Brearry (think Bennifer), friending is better than not friending!
Come to the blogger meet up tonight at Java Joe's at 7.
Angelo will say something nice about everyone tonight,
so if you need a verbal hug, it's the place to be.

The HPV Vaccine: Coming to a school near you

Merck has joined forces with the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and our Department of Public Health to launch a humanitarian effort aimed at ridding the world of cervical cancer by preventing strains of the HPV (human papillomavirus) that has been found in 100% of CV. They have aggressively enlisted the Public School System to help corral high school girls for the three stage vaccination.

The CNMI's rate of cervical cancer is astonishing, almost four times that of the U.S.. The HPV vaccine has the potential to eradicate cervical cancer by preventing the strain of HPV that causes it. HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases found gender-wide. In boys, it is like the stealth virus, asymptomatic and not nearly as deadly as it is for girls. Sexual activity increases the risk of HPV, and thus for girls, cervical cancer. Gardasil, the FDA approved vaccine made and marketed by Merck, has not yet been approved for boys. The vaccine is not cheap, but argumentatively, neither is cervical cancer.

At the risk of sounding unappreciative for this generous gift, I want to explain myself. My friends think this is unnecessary, but I am moved by many recent happenings. My comments on Jeff's blog have taken a detour from my maternal gut instincts to whether or not I am grateful for this federal endowment. It's been suggested that I do my research before "killing Frankenstein", and so I have.

As Jeff puts it, "pharmaceuticals are big business". I agree, and this is one of the reasons that Merck has been under scrutiny for it's overly aggressive campaign to make Gardasil mandatory in public schools. The question the nation seems to be asking is, "have we lost focus from the prevention of cervical cancer to fattening the pockets of drug makers?" The vaccine is not mandatory in the CNMI, so my question is, "why are we going to vaccinate hundreds of girls at school, during instructional time, when it is a voluntary shot?" Wouldn't it be better to invite parents to the clinic or a public forum so that they can ask their questions freely? Or are we just trying to get as much of this free stuff used as fast as possible? Maybe free is the wrong word since the CDC, A.K.A. the feds, are buying it in bulk from Merck, on our behalf. I'm not sure how many federal dollars are going into the media campaign for this vaccine, but wouldn't a public meeting be more appropriate in our culture? Many man-amko will not be able to understand the catchy commercials, and given the power of TV persuasion, few people will feel compelled to question them. I think this is too important an issue, given our statistics, not to reach out to the community.

I am not questioning the integrity of the DPH. There are many people who work there that I admire for their determination to bring quality health care to the CNMI. I am not even questioning the intentions of the CDC. I am certain that the Cancer Society supports this, and so they should. I am a little bit uncomfortable knowing that the feds and Merck are in bed with this one. $50 million bucks is a lot of money for one year and it makes me wonder about the aggressiveness of the drive. This is my right, no? Nobody's perfect, but no one, including Merck, has a spotless record when it comes to the medications they promote. Many states are tinkering with the idea of mandating this vaccine in schools for girls as young as 9 years old. I'll let you chew on that one.

All of our public schools have Wellness Policies that are directly aligned with National Wellness standards and they do address preventative measures in health. In fact, we welcome the participation and partnership of Public Health. However, is it really the school's responsibility at this time, to aide in mass vaccinations? What about possible mandatory vaccinations? (Because, that's what will be coming down the line if we are not vigilant)

All my children have been immunized, and I do not wish to expose any of them to the horrors of cancer, especially if I can help prevent it. If I felt 100% certain that this was safe, I'm sure we'd be the first family in line. However, it is my maternal prerogative to shelter my girls no matter how hyper-sensitive it looks to others. I know it's "Saipanese" to ask for studies, but I demand them for my children. Show me that it is safe and I will put my daughters in your trusted hands.

To be fair, most of the reported side effects are non life threatening and in comparison to cervical cancer, they are almost harmless. Even girls who have no sexual history are susceptible to HPV, because as Jane puts it, they can be victims of sexual crimes. The benefits today, seem to outweigh the risks. If you are willing to do the research, not rely on my seemingly biased opinions, and you become convinced, then please, get your daughter(s) inoculated. It's a golden opportunity to avail of preventative medicine that would otherwise cost the average person an arm and a leg (and a cervix).

I will continue to exert my right as an American and a mother, to reserve judgment/a decision. Here are a list of objections and some benefits that I've found useful. Though my tone seems otherwise, I am neither campaigning for or against the vaccine. I am asserting my right and yours, to make informed decisions. Go to the DPH with your daughter before signing the consent form, ask lots of questions, even the ones you feel silly asking, and don't leave until you are satisfied. Call your doctor and get his/her opinion. The DPH has made it clear that they are eager to hear the public's concerns. Read about it everywhere, even on the government sites. No one should die of cervical cancer if they don't have to, especially not our daughters. But, please, don't pull my toenails out with your tweezers just because I'm skeptical. Not until you have spent years listening to my Sommer's laugh, seen Peyton's crayon-drawn family portraits and heard Hope talk about the dreams she has for her life. Not until you've agonized over every decision you've ever made when it came to their futures.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


There is no such language, ethnicity, "whatever" as Saipanese!
Good, that's off my chest.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mama, Mommy, Mom...

Yesterday she said she wanted to start calling me mom instead of mommy. She said she was a big girl now. Today, Peyton lost her first baby tooth.
Can I get a warning sign next time, please?
I hate my camera. My new Sony Cybershot that won't let me upload pictures to my mac. My Sony camera that contains Peyton's first toothless smile. My daughter's coming of age. The fact that I'm being traded in for the tooth-fairy. I hate my new camera.

Happy 15th Birthday

Anthony Michael Gomez Jr.
You absolutely rock!
Love: Mom,

Sommer and Peyton

Micronesian Challenge

Happy Hour at the Grand Hotel tomorrow night. The winners of the Micronesian Challenge will be announced and if you're looking for a prize that will have you resting in peace and tranquility, there will be an Aqua Resort night stay! Come see the pictures of our gorgeous islands and share the evening with friends.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What A Jam-Packed Week!

Open House at Mt. Carmel. We met all of Hope's new teachers and received our
parental involvement points just for showing up. Don't show up, don't get your points. Just another fancy Catholic guilt trip. Joking! Do I get points for lame jokes?
Professional Development: Clinical Supervision & Evaluation
with former PSS Commissioner Dr. Rita Inos. For most of us it was more of a reunion and a chance to re-focus. "You have a mighty team" she said, "your best resources, your human resources are invaluable and you are going to get through this" I am inspired anew.
Yes, those are french fries. Yes, that is fina-deni. No joke, they brought it to the table like this.
Only on Saipan.
The G.E.S. Health & Wellness Team at work.
Thirty minutes before the food coma.

Thanks Jeff and Cynthia, for the dinner, the company and a chance for a night out with companions who can hold a conversation for more than three minutes. Tony and I have gotten so adept at eating and talking as we pull a three year old off a restaurant window pane that we'd forgotten what it was like to sit down for a meal. Their boys were so well-behaved that I almost got the mommy withdrawal shakes. How does one eat without the scampering of feet, sound of toys dropping to the floor every few seconds and the persistent whining of crumb-snatchers?

I have to say, Cynthia and Jeff are a great team. They had kitchen symphony! The food was really great, Jeff's not joking when he says he can cook.
Chicken Marsala a la Jeff
Do you see the sangria? The sweet and wonderful sangria?

This pasta rocked!

Cynthia and Jeff ...awww

Friday, August 17, 2007

Did you ever stop to think?

And then forget to start again?
Can somebody tell me what the purpose for the dumb word verification thing-a-ma-jiggies is.
Nothing. I got nothing. Why my fingers won't stop typing I don't know.


Thanks Deece! Here's what Deece wrote about me (blush) and the rules for the Mommy Blogger Award. Deece has really great ideas and she, like the Trailblazer (not the basketball team, excuse me ha, I'm ESL), knows how to add pizzaz, so I've taken some of her additions to the awarding process.

BONI! Boni is one hard working mother-shut your mouth! During the day she is a psudo-mommy to other people's children, at night and on the weekends she is mommy to her own three children. You can tell from her posts that Boni puts a lot of effort into her children, into raising them as contributing citizens, into maintaining a sense of humor and sharing it with her kids, into teaching them to have minds of their own. She admits when she's wrong and she isn't afraid to put herself out there - to know what it means to have a family in Saipan politics and still speak out when its needed. Boni is a mommy to learn from.
Here are OUR rules:
1. Nominate an awesome mommy blogger
2. Tell her why you think she rocks
3. Ask her to post the award on her blog and do the same
4. Add your name and blog to the list of past awardees and copy it into your post

Past awardees:
1. Deece -
2. Mona -
3. Boni -

My nomination is Brenda Sha-Sha-Shazam!!

Bren: What can't you do and at the same time find time to nurture your kids? You are like, the epitome of good mothering. It seems to me that nothing fazes you, even though as a mom I know better. You have always put your children first in every decision you've made. I've seen you defend them like a mother hawk and draw them near to you like a mother hen. I have no doubt that your kids will grow up fulfilled, successful and with the same spirit that you have worked so hard to instill in them. Brenda is a mother to emulate. (Deece's starter)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Positive Global Change

Bree has nominated me for the Bloggers for the Positive Global Change Award that started on Angelo's blog. I read the description on the Climate of Our Future blog because I wasn't quite sure what I did to deserve the nomination. I certainly would never place myself in the same category as the environmental heroes at MINA or Beautify CNMI. Then I read this:

There are a wide range of bloggers on the Web who, like Atlas from mythology, have taken the weight of the world upon their shoulders and are trying to build awareness among their readership in order to create a more sustainable and enlightened future.
I'm not very good at authentically complimenting myself, so I'll just thank Bree for the honor and pay it forward. I nominate Bruce and Jane even though I know Jane doesn't do the tag thing. I also nominate Hope in the "hope" that she'll start a movement at her new school, and the soon-to-be elected Student Council at GES because I know they'll take the challenge. Now, please follow the rules:

1. When you get tagged, write a post with links to up to 5 blogs that you think are trying to change the world in a positive way.
2. In your post, make sure you link back to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Leave a comment or message for the bloggers you’re tagging, so they know they’re now part of the meme.
4. Optional: Proudly display the “Bloggers For Positive Global Change” award badge with a link to the post that you write up.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Saipan's Mommy Blogger Awards

I consider myself a thinker, and you'd agree with me if you equated mental jibberish with thinking too. My rumination is often limited to monosyllables and one word sentences: "eat", "groceries", "P.O.", "substitute", "timesheet", "sleep" - although not necessarily in that order and often simultaneously.

Being a mommy automatically makes me eligible to be a world changer too, but it requires that I climb ranks - first as diaper changer, money changer, and the ominous mind changer. "What! Mom, you said I could go yesterday!"

I figured no one would understand this as much as mommies like me, so I came up with the Mommy Blogger Award. Let's face it girls, if we want to climb any ladder, we've got to paint it pink - ourselves. So here it is - Saipan's First Mommy Blogger Award!! I am nominating Deece first and inviting her to copy the image on her website and nominate another great mommy.

Here are OUR rules:
1. Nominate an awesome mommy blogger
2. Tell her why you think she rocks
3. Ask her to post the award on her blog and do the same

Here's mine: DEECE
I love your wit and creativity. You have the ability to make a point, convey a feeling in a single sentence. You're pretty shy, but I have the feeling that if someone got to know you, you'd be one hilarious joke teller and forever friend. You are passionate about what you believe in and share your love of family in every post. You are honest about how you feel and I find that refreshing. You'd probably be the first to admit that you aren't perfect, but I sense direction and a drive to be your very best in all that you do. What is it Wednesdays totally has everyone on their toes! That's just one example of your ability to bring people together. Congratulations! Pass it on.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Zinfandel Musings on a Sunday Night

I did a Google search for "debatably regular moms". Guess what? Dang right, I'm #1 yo! Oh wait, that's probably not something to brag about...
Porky's is non-smoking on Wednesdays. I wonder if Bruce will start promoting it as "Smokeless Pork Wednesday"
Me: Whatcha doing Sommer?
Sommy: Nossing.
Me: Did I tell you how much I love you today?
Sommy: I ludge you too mommy.
Just finished A Thousand Splendid Suns. I loved it so much I bawled at the end. I think I'll read Kite Runner although I almost never read the same author twice. There's always a first.
Tony Jr. is going to be 15 this week. I still remember the first time I laid eyes on him. I waited for what seemed forever to hold him in my arms, and when he finally arrived I felt like I had to. Like all the misgivings and misfortune in my life were somehow erased. I had a son. Among my children, he and I have the most in common, although he doesn't look a thing like me. It still catches me off guard how much he's grown. Could I have really raised this young man? What did I do to deserve these precious years as his mother? Lord, I am so humbled that you've entrusted me with his life for even a short while. So humbled and so grateful.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pork and Blogs

Friday night was a ham at Porky's! Oh gosh, I crack myself up. I got there a little bit late, but just in time to help Melissa put some good ol' country music on the jukebox. After months of saying we had to get together, it was nice to finally meet her. My hubby Tony was already there waiting (oops), but he luckily had Jeff to keep him company, and some mojitos:) The conversation was pretty eclectic. We went from what I REALLY DO ALL DAY LONG, which started a rash, to babies, to my wrist brace and then it erupted in inebriated babbling. Bruce was not far, especially when I needed a straw upgrade for my margarita. I never got to try the mojitos (sad face). EJ, Angelo, and Cynthia (Jeff's cool wife) were there too. EJ impressed Jeff with her ability to eat rice with chopsticks.

I got a money shot of Harry and Bree making something that looked like peace, and I'm-a opening bids ya'll! So far, Harry's put out offers for air time to help promote smokeless restaurants and Bree's come through with some Mandi Asian Spa passes. Hmmm... I'll keep fishing here for a while, but let me tell you, it's a beauty of a photo and the one with the best bid gets all the rights to the pic! In the meantime, enjoy some of the evening's shots. We did!

It's a Tony-Boni sighting everyone!
Who likes girls in glasses?
Hey- watch the head yo!
I sure wish I had those nachos right now
The Bald-win brothers! Ha, ha, ha

I disappeared like the illusive three legged striped hilitai that roams the Matuis jungle region. Sorry that I left without saying good-bye. I got a little homesick and truth be told, I just can't hang anymore. When I got home and looked at my watch, I had to do a double take. It was only, ahem, 10 o'clock?! Dude, I am a party animal!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

How Not To React On Your Daughter's First Day At Jr. High

Hope is going to my Alma Mater, go Knights!! I saw Jane at the parent orientation meeting . It was a hoot looking at our girls' reactions to the old and new rules. We are lucky mothers indeed. Hope sat there frozen as the disciplinarian read off consequences and categories of offenses. I have to admit, I sat in the perfect spot to see my old hallway where I spent all of my High School days, and all I could think of were all the rules I managed to break. Ah, the memories. Lucky thing for Hope that Mr. G, the principal knows what exactly to look out for since we went to school together . Hey Mr. G, did you take care of those old permanent records yet? Oops there goes another year with my...

Oops, there goes another year with my...

Oops, there goes another year with my Hope!

I need the parent version of Ned's De-Classified School Survival Guide. I took Hope to her first day of Jr. High today. Correction. I drove her to the gate and then she very gently told me that she could walk herself to class. Gulp! I let my head hang and took a deep breath. Okay, stomach stop churning and heart don't fly out of my throat. "Are you sure?" "Yup"
Okay. She'll be okay, right? I am a good mother, right? She's just getting older, right? So, I call her three times on my way to work trying to ignore the dizzy sensation, "Hope are you sure you can find your way, are you sure you don't want me to walk you in?" I made it to the Garapan Fishing Basin and then screech! I pulled a U-ey and dialed her cell, "Hope, wait for me at the gate, I'm coming back to walk you to class!" But, she was already in class and there were no other parents around. She's promised to let me walk her in tomorrow, just so that she doesn't get lost you know. Or, maybe so her mother doesn't feel like she's losing her baby.
Look who we've got our Hanes on now! Oh yeah, finally!

Monday, August 6, 2007


Training Troops to Teachers w/Americorps Tutors
Rachel and Rose: 3 kinds of people in this world

Every new cycle, I'm enlisted to prepare troops to enter the battlefield that is the PSS. I take the opportunity to do some team building, orient them with the new "chain of command" and talk about the things they never tell you when you sign your contract. Mostly, I try to impress on them that they are going to be impacting childrens' lives and that choosing a career in education is a test of mental, physical and ethical endurance. Before I end, I always make a point to do a visual presentation with Tylenol, Beroca and Alka Selter to demonstrate 3 kinds of people: those who watch things happen, those who make things happen and those who wonder what the heck just happened.

Tylenol: takes time to dissolve, you can't take another for hours, doesn't always work and sometimes you need more than the recommended dose.
Tylenol people: take time to absorb things, can't be counted on regularly, make others wait for a response, and sometimes depend on others to make decisions.

Beroca: dissolves quickly but loses it's fizz just as fast.
Beroca people: have intermittent spurts and occasional bursts of energy, but lose their energy just as quickly as the first.

Alka Seltzer: dissolves and continues to keep it's fizz.
Alka Seltzer people: are consistent and dependable, exhibit perseverance.

The question posed: as you move into your new role, what type of person will you be and how can that contribute to the school you work in? I think we all need to reflect on our own "effectiveness" from time to time. What type of person are you?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Any Day Now Lady!

Have you ever noticed that the drivers who abuse their car horns and get overly animated are the same ones who take their sweet time when backing out of a parking spaces? As if rebelling from the things they hate the most, they saunter to their cars, never making eye contact with the driver waiting for their space, fiddling with their keys as if admiring their newly manicured nails. When they finally get in their vehicle, they adjust and re-adjust the rearview mirror, tune the radio and smooth their hair or make-up. Then they back up slowly enough to piss you off before they speed off! Ugh!
Me waiting for a woman backing up at National Office Supply during the school supplies rush.
After exhibiting all of the above behavior, she opens her car door and looks at me. I've got my head propped on one arm and massaging an aching brow.

Woman shouting: Cannot!

Me thinking : Cannot what lady? You cannot estimate the space you have to make a friggin three point turn? I cannot have your parking space because your name is engraved on the concrete? We cannot be friends because I gave you a dirty look for taking so long and still not buckling up? "Cannot" what? I cannot understand you!!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

In a Hurry, Have to Post

Harry is the decided winner of the Saipan's Best Blogger Contest. My sincerest congratulations to Harry, and to the rest of the blogging crew who deserve to be recognized! Next time we drink margaritas to celebrate, please call my cell phone, one of you has the number, I'm sure of it.
I had an awesome first day of school and am already falling in like with my 21 students. We worked on observations and inferences yesterday.

I observed that Ms. Boni was our teacher when I saw her greet us good morning at the door.
I inferred that she got fired as principal and had to be a teacher again.

Pretty good, eh?
Billy Bot got loose this morning and ate some flowers. Now he has morning-glory-breath. He,he,he,ha,ha,ha!!!
Reading A Thousand Splendid Suns right now. Loving it!
The smoking ban: I think it should go the route of popular initiative. When Cliff finally starts reading this blog and decides to get moving, he should know that there are many of us, including smokers like me, who will help. Let's get cracking man!
Okay, gotta go. See ya' later alligators!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Words of Wisdom from a 12 year old!

Hope's right, this contest is just silly. We should all just grow up and pat one
another on the back for blogs well done.
Here's what I think about the Saipan's best blog poll. I think its ridiculous. Everyones blog is the best!!! My mom and Angelo are pretty competitive. Angelo took my mom off his link list, and go to my mom's blog and you'll see what I mean. I was thinking about putting the poll on but no way. I wish this thing will be over with soon. - Hope

She's a smart kid, that Hopie Daisy. If I were a discriminating voter, I'd throw her mom a line:)