Monday, October 29, 2007

Island girl in the nation's capital

I'm still alive yo. Fighting extreme jet lag and missing my family. Pictures later. Details to come. I'm glad I'm not on island to witness the election madness. The ride up to San Vicente on my way home last Friday was unnerving enough. Did anyone else get stuck in the traffic?

The natives here are mostly friendly, but in a hurry to get to wherever it is they are going. They are celebrating Halloween with enthusiasm. On the metro last night the college crowd were in full gear, full volume, fully inebriated and exacerbated my claustrophobia greatly (you thought I was gonna say fully?).

Today I sat with the "suits". They are a curious demographic, constantly pacing and on their cell phones. They live mainly on Starbucks. I still cannot tell the democrats from the republicans off the bat, but I am observing them carefully. If anyone knows a quick litmus test for this, please let me know. I may take a few photo samples for research. Also, if anyone would like a postcard, please send me an email. If I find an elderly woman chewing betelnut on the sidewalk next to the United Colors of Benetton, you can be sure I will post it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Goodbye Hello Kitty

He loves his new Strat. The Hello Kitty backpack is still safely tucked away for brotherly duties, but my son is sporting a new manlier look (although he did say he'd love a purple HK strap). The hair is growing back now, and mom is ever conscious of disturbing the kid-to-cool equilibrium. Isn't he handsome?

The Saipan Southern High School Manta Ray Band are trying to raise money to kick ass in a competition on Guam next Spring. They're great kids, and one of them is mine. You might not notice him without his Hello Kitty backpack.


Hilarious. Sometimes you just have to laugh and today I did. Sometimes you need some help describing your despair. Found it!

My thoughts exactly on the elections,
and the state of economy in the CNMI

Embrace your low traffic!

Håfa Nay!

This is dedicated to all the people who walk the Marianas. Yes, even our non-indigenous, lighter-shade-of-love brothers and sisters, the mwar-challenged and the sunburnt: Let's all practice our Håfa Adai the island way! Share it with a smile and pass it on:)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Momma's Gone Postal

I haven't sent anything through the mail since, I can't even remember the last time. So, when I went to pay the mortgage and the woman behind the counter said, "our office is now closed and you'll have to send your payment to Guam," I stood there for a few seconds unable to move. "You mean through the mail?" "Yes, do you have the address?" "" "Uh, no." She meant the kind with a zip code. That was only the beginning of the mail trauma.

I haven't had a postage stamp since, since the Young Elvis stamp came out. So, I took the trek to the U.S. Post Office in Chalan Kanoa to buy stamps for to send off my bill. Did you know that the stamp machine doesn't tell you which stamps are sold-out until you put your money in it? Did you know that the dollar bill slot doesn't work? Did you know that even if you run to the Chinese store across the street to get quarters because the dollar bill slot doesn't work and you find out that the stamps you want are sold-out you can't get your change back? Ya-ha, neither did I!

I put $1.50 worth of quarters in the machine and then found out the $1.03 stamps were sold-out. Having no more quarters left, I stood there punching all the letter-number sequences I could, bingo, and then put my head on the machine in an act of surrender when it took my money! No change, no money back, no stamp, no luck. So, I ran back to the Chinese store where the man was not smiling anymore and got change for $3 more. I ran back to the USPS and dropped the quarters in and even though it previously took $1.50, I am still .75 short! Why? Because I was too slow deciding which sold-out stamp to buy. I wanted to cry, but I kept punching the letter-number sequences hoping it would take pity on me and sense my desperation. At the same time I call out, "Help! Anyone working in there?" "I need help." I know there is someone working because I hear the pitter-patter of mailman feet through the PO Boxes and I hear island jams playing in the background, but does someone come out to assist me? Nooooooooo.

My mortgage is late, my quarters are in the machine and soon the tell-tale beep marking the loss of three more dollars will reverberate through the walls. I need one stamp, one stamp. Now I have to buy the only stamps not sold-out, the international $3.75 stamps to send my payment two hundred miles South to Guam. Why?! Where is the electronic payment url? Where is the consideration?

Three people walked in and out obviously averting eye contact with me, the crazy woman negotiating with the stamp machine. "Why?" I whined, stroking the cold, calculated metal. "Come on, one stamp!" Suddenly, the unthinkable happened. I turned into my mother, unafraid to plead the mercy of strangers, "Excuse me kind sir, would you happen to have one stamp, three quarters, you see this machine has taken my money and I'm afraid I won't be able to send off my prescription for insulin, for my diabetic, attention deficit, hearing impaired great uncle who is wasting away on the veranda." Only one man, obviously a man after His own heart took pity and ran to the very Chinese store I had gone to get me three quarters before the machine beeped!

It's a good thing my children weren't with me. Not only would they have been horrified at my behavior, I was so grateful I might have gone home with one less Gomez. "My youngest child for your undeserved generosity good sir!"
Good one Mr. O!
Me: My ear is totally itching, I must be having an allergic reaction to something.
Mr. O: Ooh, maybe you have pink eye.
Me: What? I said my ear was itchy, not my eye.
Mr. O: Yeah, that's what the paper said the symptoms of pink eye were. Facial itching. You didn't get the nurse's article?
Me: What?! No! Nurse Reyes, where's that symptom sheet! My ears are itching, and so is my cheek. Oh no, I can't get pink eye!

Nurse Reyes running in, Mr. O sneaking out of my office.

Me reading symptom chart: That's not funny O!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

When will the madness end?

We read The Great Kapok Tree twice last night. We read it the first time amidst Sommer's tirade of protests. We first had to get her to calm down and stop screaming "I don't like that book!" and then I had to read Beware of Bears three times. After appeasing her, we read for a second time and prepared a list of things we decided were achievable steps to helping our environment. Hope has posted this list on her blog as well.

1. Water our plants regularly so that they are nourished and healthy.
2. Tell others about the importance of trees and plants.
3. Plant more trees.
4. Use both sides of your paper, so you won't waste resources.
5. Recycle and re-use paper for scrap paper.
6. Protect trees, especially old ones from needless cutting down.
7. Reuse grocery bags or bring your own when you shop.

P.S. When this the madness end? Some nights it feels like my head is going to crack open. I wonder how long she can keep it up and just when we think she's all tuckered out, a wail busts loose. Some kids have an enormous capacity to scream and cry. Funny thing is, she stops, smiles and is her chipper self just as quickly. Toddler mania. Anyone research that yet?
Mommy Hint for Tantrum-less Toothbrushing

How do you get a wily child to sit still for toothbrushing? I developed a strategy long ago when Tony Jr. became a toddler. It was so hard to get him to sit still and keep his mouth open long enough for me to get to all the choppers, so I had to get creative. Sommer is hands down the wiliest child we've had. She won't sit still for anything, but brushing her teeth is no problema!

On her way to the sink, Sommer inspects all the beauty products and herself.
Game #1:
Teach your child the vowel sounds (long and short)
E: Eeeeeeee!

A: Aaaaaa!

Game #2 is pretty fun: Get those cavity creeps! It requires lots of noise and drama. Sommer opens her mouth and I get to wield the toothbrush searching out creeps. "Oh! I see one, it's up in the back! Take that you nasty cavity creep! Oooh, there's one in the front, wait, wait! I got you, you yucky creepo! Raaah, he's on your tongue! Not anymore you butt face cavity creep!" She just laughs and laughs and it's a blast for me too!

Monday, October 15, 2007

I don't do perky

So, I'm watching a commercial for some Jet Dry cleaning tabs, lamenting the fact that I don't own a dishwasher, which wouldn't really matter seeing that even when I did have one I never used it. No machine, except for the washing machine, could possibly out-clean me. Back to the dish washing tabs. The woman in the commercial is so totally grating on my nerves. She sounds like one of those mothers you hear about who wait until all the kids are at school and her husband is out the door before she locks herself in the bathroom to steal some of little Johnny's Ritalin. She's talking a hundred miles an hour and I swear her pupils looked dilated. I'm getting sea sick just watching her head bob.

She is who they select to represent their quick dry tabs? The woman obviously has more energy than ten electrasol quick dry tabs and four cycles of dish washing on high. For Phen Phen maybe, but dish washing tabs that save time and energy? Phooey. She strikes me as someone who would double wash her dishes and then scrub them down with a toothbrush and magnifying glass. The woman is obviously on something here!

I, on the other hand, don't do and won't do perky. If they hired someone like me for their commercial it would be a lot more believable.

Electrasol Quick Dry Tabs
Because no one wants to wait for her to
"get to it when I get to it, darnit!"

Thousands of Voices, One Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
What if, for one day, all of us rallied behind one cause? Today for Blog Action Day, we can come together with one voice on behalf of our environment. You can help by doing one of three things:
1. Write a post about an environment issue close to your heart
2. Donate your day's earnings to an environmental charity
3. Help promote Blog Action Day

You don't have to be an environmental superhero to help. Just write as you normally do, but put in some support for an environmental issue. It's one day, it's one cause, it's a big enough deal that we should all think about helping out.

Tonight we're reading The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry and the kids and I are going to make a list of all the things we can do to help keep our environment beautiful. Then we're going to post them on our blogs. Here is a place where you can share some facts and tips for kids.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's 2:45 am!

I got woken up in the middle of the night by a staff member who received a text I sent hours earlier at 2:45 pm and thought it read 2:45 am. I could not get back to sleep no matter how tired I was. Isn't it funny? When your sleep gets interrupted, it is so hard to doze back off, but when your alarm goes off in the morning you can hit the snooze button and go right on snoring. This is the profound thought that stuck in my mind while I fought to get some rest.
Curves is a fun place to work out with your sister. There's nothing two PSS employees need more than to blow off some steam at the gym. The battle for the jeans continues.
I love my job, I love my job, I love my job
I love my job, I love my job, I love my job
It is National Principals Month. I am proud of what I do. I work with an outstanding group of teachers and staff who make it easy to be the principal. Thank you GES Mallards for bringing out the best in me and for always finding the strength and energy to keep at the task of providing quality services to our children.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Four days to go

Mike has four days to go before he gets out of Iraq and home to his wife and kids. Four days '89ers and everyone in our community. Four more days of prayers and he'll be out of harm's way. Please help us intercede for Mike and all the men and women still waiting to go home.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Random, truly random musings

I knew I had a son underneath that jungle of hair, so I did what all good moms would do. I took my boy to get a hair cut. Being the good child, he obediently followed. It wasn't until after he had gotten what all mothers deem decent boys' haircuts should look like did he announce I had ruined his social life. There is no "after" photo since Tony Jr. would not allow it. Today I make a mom's plea for forgiveness, for what I can only describe as a generational misunderstanding. I am obviously atoning for the years of Pink Aquanet I put my own family through.

The earth laughs in flowers
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

A moment of confusion in the Saipan Grand Hotel bathroom.
I experienced what I can only describe as neural misfiring when I turned on the water, looked down and saw three spouts. The mind wanted the hand to go to the middle, the water came from the right. I know this seems ludicrous, but it took me a while to orient myself and place my hand under the running water. The very nice cleaning lady did not laugh at me. Until she walked out. Note to SGH: when you install new spouts, take the old one out.
The universe knew we needed a holiday. We awoke Monday morning to our heater spewing water all over the laundry room. So, the day pretty much went like this:
1. Get up out of bed, no sleeping in, no holiday rest for the already weary.
2. Find a plumber fast!
3. Run to the hardware store bust out your cash.
4. Spend all day cleaning out wet laundry room.
5. To to Curves and work off the stress
6. Spend all night making quesadillas for Hope's cultural day the next day.

I refuse the begrudge my lack of a holiday. I am thankful, yes even grateful that this calamity occurred during a day off, when I was able to do something about it and not during a working day. I am thankful that it took three years to break and not two. I am thankful that the water didn't get into the kitchen. I am thankful that the heater broke so we could buy a smaller, more energy efficient one. I am thankful the kids got to watch us not lose our cool and handle what could have, should have been an otherwise ruined day with grace. I am thankful for the lessons of life and more to come.
I'm Middle Road's pick of the week and my husband made the sexy list.

Middle Road's Pick of the Week

Middle Road\
This blog makes a proud mama! Reading Boni Gomez's posts every week keeps you in touch with a mother's sentiments toward the society and its events. A feel good read. It's like a reality program in a blog following the growing years of her children and family. This blog also tackles social issues that are very close to us. Visit her at Because I Said So.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Biba CNMI!

Happy Commonwealth Culture Day or shall I say
the holiday formerly known as Columbus Day!

It really isn't all that different, you know. We are celebrating our culture, a kådu (soup) of so many cultures from previous colonizations that the only thing we can say is really ours would be the ...nope, not even the tangan-tangan is ours. Well, I know for sure that chicken kelaguin is yummy and åhu (sweet soup made of young coconuts) rocks, so I'm celebrating CC Day today by buying something from Galaxy before they close too, God forbid.

All the things you need to survive in the Commonwealth are in this here list!
1. Envelope for chenchule': Hey, what goes around comes around. It's the Chamorro version of a cross between the pyramid scheme and money laundering island style.
2. Bottle of holy water: Sprinkle this on anything that needs divine intervention. Drink it at your own risk.
3. Tin foil for balutan: Every party goer's necessity. Usually accompanied by the trusty plastic shopping bag. We love leftovers in the CNMI!
4. Zories: They come in all heights, colors and can go from the surf board to the board room!
5. Permanent marker for your tupperware: You've been warned. Many have been seen shamelessly bickering over their Rubbermaid bundt cake container over a lack of inked initials. Tsk tsk.
6. Ice chest or cooler in your trunk: Duh, need I say more?
7. Vicks Vapor rub cures all ailments, just ask your grandma.
8. A Middle Name--the more the better: Bota si' Sommer Kalani de Los Reyes Sablan Pangelinan Castro Martinez Russell Gomez!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Dear Mr. Vernon

I feel duty bound to resurrect the ultimate movie of the 80's, the one cinematic masterpiece that defined our generation by bringing five icons of high school, the geek, the rich girl, the outcast, the basket case and the jock, into our homes. Everyone identified with one of these characters, and though we were all different, I bet we all rooted for Bender and Claire to get together. It was the epitome of clique-dome, and a brilliant experiment in the mixing of toxic personalities. You gotta watch this movie!!

My favorite BC quotes
Allison: When you grow up your heart dies.
Brian: could you describe the ruckus sir?
Andrew: Two hits, me hitting you, you hitting the floor.
Bender: Does Barry Manilow know you raided his closet?
Claire: Why? Cause I'm telling the the truth, that makes me a b!+(h?
Principal Vernon: The next time I come in here I'm cracking skulls!
Carl the janitor: I am the eyes and ears of this institution.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Chicken Bus: not hair friendly, but it sure is fun!

Can you tell?
Which daughter uses Suave for Kids?

And who uses that more expensive shampoo?

Things that were and weren't impressive

Sommer's been chatting away lately, incorporating new vocabulary from her always colorful family members, Nick Jr. and various Tagalog game shows. I took the kids to Blockbuster to get some DVDs so we could spend quality time together, you know how that goes (wink). While we waited for Care Bears Fitness Fun and Disney Princess Sing-a-Long songs to get scanned she announced to the entire store that I should put her down from the counter, and stop kissing her because I was annoying her. I looked around embarrassed. There's never a dull moment with Sommer!

A conversation in the backseat

As Peyton twirls her chain around her pendant, "Look what I can do with my necklace Sommy"


What can you do?"

I can get my boogers with my tongue"

"That's not impressive, that's gross"

Girls chuckle


Two minutes later

"Got 'em!"

There was some kind of police uproar in Garapan last week.
We could see the action from our office window.
Police officers surround an abandoned housing unit.
"Woah, a gun!"
"He's going to kick the door down!"
Kick! Kick!
"Ti na-hung Similac", we all laugh.

Chamorro Mini-Lesson:
Loosely translated this means "not enough power".
Literally translated it means "He didn't drink enough formula to build up
enough strength that would therefore enable him to kick a door down." The formula of choice for strong boys: Similac. Don't ask why, it's just a Chamorroism, that's all.

Who knows what happened. We watched until the guns were put away
and they quit circling around the housing units. BTW, there were no windows in the abandoned house. Impressive.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"I think I just might eat that last Cherry Mash" and other mumbo jumbo

There is one more Cherry Mash on the candy dish. If I take it, I break the unspoken Chamorro rule of leaving the last "anything" for someone else to indulge in. I am determined to reason my way out of the guilt that will undoubtedly surface itself within minutes of Cherry Mash consumption; the guilt, which stems from 12 years of Catholic schooling, female image media propaganda and cultural taboo.

Why don't I just throw treats out instead of placing them on a dish for my staff to enjoy? I know why. I am a good and kind person who loves to see others smile. I love to smile. Smiling is good for the soul. What's good for the soul is good for the body. Cherry Mash will make me smile. I think I might just eat that last Cherry Mash. It's good for my body after all.

So, mom buys me and Yvette a two-month membership to Curves and it isn't even our birthday, or Christmas...or Philippine Independence Day...or one of the four "C" days . It's not a Columbus Day present or is it? Maybe it's Mother-Daughters Day somewhere in the world. Shut up! This isn't a gift plumb-ass, it's a hint!
Tami says that blogging is like leaving your diary on the bed for everyone to read. Why would anyone do that?

Dear Diary,

I wish I had a brand new purse. My heart's desire is to own my very own Coach Leather Legacy Satchel. Oh, how fine that would be, how I would jump with joy and lavish my appreciation upon anyone who was so inclined to buy me that.

My back really hurts. I think it might be from standing at the sink washing so many dishes after a hard day's work. If only Hope would offer to wash them for me. Of course, she's got other tweenage things to do that are more fun than washing some dumb dishes for her old mom. Besides, I would never dream of taking her away from iCarly, especially since they are brand new episodes she's never seen and all.



Things we can no longer do now that Peyton can read:
1. Shorten bedtime stories by omitting or summarizing the plot.
2. Spell out words when speaking like, "I bought some i-c-e c-r-e-a-m for later when the kids go to sleep"
3. Pretend the candy we are eating is really medicine. "This says Cherry Medicine and it tastes so yucky"
4. Make plans to go out without the kids. "You said d-a-t-e! You're not going to the gas station!"
5. Talk about the kids in front of them. "What! Sommer has a fever?, Sommer you're sick!"