Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rocky (Road) is an ice cream not a state of mind

It started out as an ice-cream sundae and ended up as edible finger paint. Bobby's ran out of nuts and whipped cream, so they marked down the price and handed the goodies over to Sommer. I wish I knew what was going through that mind of hers. If I were to guess it would probably be something like, "This would look magnificent on that wall over there." Ai si' Sommer.
Peyton is a second grader now. So far, she's gotten 7 "wow" slips in Mr. Buniag's class and no "oops" slips. She's an overachiever with a sense of style and lots of attitude. If I could start all over again I'd be just like Peyton at 7 years old. Who says kids can't be their parents' heroes?
I love stress free nights. I love being able to make spontaneous decisions like forgetting the fact we just had dinner and that it's almost bedtime and we're really tired and just jumping in the car to grab some ice cream for the heck of it.

You gotta draw the line somewhere

Anyone who eats more than 3 cans of SPAM a week deserves to be rationed!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Forever: Take Two

Wayne asked me to marry him two nights ago. He said he'd been trying to find the perfect time, the perfect place and the perfect way to do it. So, a couple of nights ago we took the kids out to dinner. Surrounded by our eight children he finally decided that there would be no perfect time than then, so while the babies wiggled around the restaurant floor he asked me to be his wife. I found out later as the older ones giggled and awed that all of them were in on it. Eight kids and not one of them let the cat out of the bag. I am impressed. I'd been wondering when he'd get to me. He made it a point to ask my father a while ago and my kids. I liked to tease him that everyone already said yes except for me, but it was important for him to do it the "proper" way and I respect that. I'm not such a warm and fuzzy girl, though I am a bit soft and squishy, but he's teaching me to slow down and appreciate things. We've both been married before and we know what it takes to commit. We are fortunate to have found one another, even if it was in the most unconventional way possible. I guess it's true. When God doesn't answer your prayers, it's probably not what's best for you anyway. I asked God to save my marriage, but that was like an alcoholic asking Him to make that bottle of wine last forever. It definitely wasn't easy, but it's completely worth it. There's nothing I can say about Wayne that could do justice to the man that he is. I knew, we knew we'd be better one day. Who could have guessed we'd get another chance at forever? I said ((((((YES))))))!!!
Wayne has an exceptional ability to listen. He heard me talk about ethical mining and my disdain for anything that was remotely associated with conflict jewelry. All of a sudden the search for a perfect ring became a search for a bloodless diamond. If you don't think that's romantic, I beg to differ. Knowing that the folks who mined, cut, polished, set and sold my ring had adequate health care and compensation, knowing that the mines that held my diamond in them were not ruthlessly scavenged, knowing that we didn't contribute to the violence that has destroyed people and villages in Africa, Angola, Burma, Brazil, etc. , and finally, knowing that this was just as important to Wayne as it is to me is the most romantic gesture in the world.
Brilliant Earth, where he found my ring was established after it's owners realized how frustrating it was to find conflict free jewelry, and though there are many other sites, this is the only place available that can track the diamonds, stones, back to their sources ensuring that they are ethically mined. Beachcomber wrote a comment about BE on one of my older posts.They also use renewable metals and give back 5% of their profit to places where the diamond trade has torn villages apart. There are pictures of Brilliant Earth jewelry on other sites, but the most gorgeous pieces are on the Soocool photography blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

That's What I Said Thursday!

You're in line at the checkout counter and the person in front of you is yelling at the bewildered cashier. When you get up to pay, do you a) pretend nothing happened b) behave extra nice to make up for the other person's rudeness or c) say something funny to break the tension? If you picked "c", what would you say?
My answer: C
I'd say loudly, "Give him/her a break, if you looked like that you'd be cranky too"
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Saturday, September 20, 2008


Basic physical human needs: food, shelter, clothing, water.

Shelter: Everyone dreams of owning a home, but in the CNMI it's a nightmare. It's a frustrating day. We have a home but we can't afford to live in it. We've unplugged the dryer, the oven and every other electrical gadget that isn't being used. We unplug the TV, the modems, the fans, toaster, coffee maker, etc. etc. We use the heater 30 minutes in the morning. We run the AC a few hours at night. We turn all the lights off unless we need them. We don't listen to music because we'd have to use power. Forget about baking, we only eat what we have to when we have to eat. We have a gas stove and only a few lights on at night. We live by kilowatt hour, always vigilant of consumption. Yet, when our power bill comes in, we pay anywhere from $715 to $830. We are not alone. Our utility company has been scandalously mismanaged and we're paying for it. It's a slap in the face to every tax paying citizen.

There are people in our community who cannot even afford to turn on a light bulb. They rely on elected officials to run the government responsibly. They cannot afford solar water heaters or fancy wind turbines. Heck, they can barely afford to put food on the table. What do they do? How do they live? Why aren't we sick and tired of listening to the same old rhetoric?

When I vote next time, I want to know what you're going to do with my taxpayer dollars. I want to know what alternate forms of energy you're going to research to ensure we have reliable, sustainable power. I want to know how you'll be accountable for your budget. I want to see you roll up your sleeves and furrow your brow and sweat sometimes; I want to see you just as mad as I am when you find slackers hiding in the crevices of government agencies and when you discover mismanaged funds. If I'm going to bubble you in, you better not keep me out of the loop.

Pay attention. Because we can't afford to live like this any longer!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

That's What I Said Thursday!

You leave your desk/table for a minute. When you get back, someone's taken a bite of your sandwich. What's your most used or favorite exclamation when you're caught off guard or surprised? Do you know someone who uses weird or funny ones? What do they say?

I had an aunt who liked to say, "Son of a motherless goat!"

What's your answer?
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Basic physical human needs: food, shelter, clothing, water.

FOOD: What next? Stone Soup?
A very wise nutritionist tells us that the price of corn has gone up. While this may seem insignificant to the rest of us, it affects our ability to deliver quality services to our schools. Corn feeds animals that produce much of the foods we require to balance our nutritional services to our students. The rising price of corn affects the farmer who sells it and the farmer who buys it. It affects the livestock, the milk, the eggs, the wheat industry and it ultimately trickles down to the consumer, us. On the homefront, the PSS homefront at least, we have had to scale down our meals for students because we can no longer afford to feed them certain foods for more than a few days at a time.

The price of fuel has made feeding our families harder to do because we have to chip in to cover the cost of getting it here in the first place. When it finally gets here, we chip in again to keep it fresh at the grocery store where the price of electricity to keep the place running adds another few cents. That's just the cost of buying food in general; buying healthy food is an entirely new dilemma. The luxury of preparing a nutritionally sound meal is almost impossible for families in the lower end of the socio-economic scale, for the rest of us it is a trade-off. Families have been forced to choose between buying that 49 cent bag of chips and fresh produce in order to survive. I don't have to elaborate on the implications this has in regards to health care or the conflict it causes with the implementation of a wellness curriculum in most schools. How do we encourage parents to cook only healthy meals when two cans of SPAM and some rice will feed the entire family and help free up some money for other bills?

We used to gossip about people who balutan at parties and professional rosary scouts. Now I wonder if we weren't prematurely judging them. Could it now be that because we all have to conserve food we can identify with the need to hoard it? Might we all have to bite our tongues one day as we shove that bread roll from the buffet table into our pockets? Sustenance has never been so complicated.

I would like to learn more about what our Health, Education and Welfare committee are doing to address wellness from the economic, educational and legislative standpoints. Programs aimed at overall wellness, whether they come from the schools or the health care industry are useless if we do not have safeguards in place to prevent price gouging, protect our local farmers, protect our natural resources, provide or support/incentives to businesses who promote and market better products, etc. Who is paying attention to how we feed ourselves?

Pay attention. Because we can't afford to live like this any longer!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mark 8:36 - How much is your soul worth?

"Money motivates neither the best people, nor the best in people. It can move the body and influence the mind, but it cannot touch the heart or move the spirit; that is reserved for belief, principle, and morality"

Wayne and I were looking through some of my piles of paperwork when he came across my handouts from a workshop on Vision. Not vision as in eyesight, but seat-of-your-soul type vision. We've had to do a bit of our own forward planning based on recent occurrences and have found out that despite how gloomy our financial futures appear to be, for the first time in our lives things are looking up. You see, together we have an obscene amount of debt, just a little present we got in divorce court. It's a long story.

We got to talking about this quote you see above. Money is such a source of contention, we are all consumed by how much better things would be if only we had the money. Boy, imagine how great life would be without all this debt? But, what does money really offer? Is your degree of integrity swayed by the size of your pocket book? I think not. I believe that money is like light. It brings out the true character of a person. Wayne is an optimist by nature and believes that people can change. Bad people can become good people and vice versa. I think bad people are sometimes disguised as good people until something happens to expose them, and vice versa. True, I've seen people change, but I think they really only found their way back to their true self. I've known a lot of really nasty people try to be good and winced at how hard it was for them.

It's a difference in opinion, but one thing's for sure. We've got a great life, awesome children and no money (oh wait, I have that $2 bill in my wallet). At first it all but paralyzed me with fear, but with every day that passes I watch this amazing man smile as if he'd never been wronged, not a trace of anxiety in his voice and I realize that we are so rich, so rich indeed. If money is your bargaining piece Scorpion, you've already lost. Looong story.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

That's What I Said Thursday!

Could you please tell us where you hide *this?

Bon's answer:
In my wallet so I can never say that I'm broke. (a 2 dollar bill)

*(oh, and tell us what this is)
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It just makes me want to climb out my car window and hug it

Flame trees are definitely gorgeous, especially when the island is in full bloom and Beach Road is bejeweled with them. I so love trees, not enough to tie myself to one to prevent death by machete, but enough that they make me stop my car to stare. This tree stands right by the parking lot gate at Garapan Elementary School and is a beauty to behold. It makes me happy - literally giddy when I drive by it. Anyone know what it's called and where I can get a seedling/sapling?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My brother's children

A picture of my brother Dwaine's two kids, DJ and Bunny. We hadn't spoken to one another for over ten years. I think I can say that, it's enough of a miracle that we are on good terms at all. Divorce ravages families in so many ways. Dwaine and I were only toddlers (um, I was a toddler, he was just a babe) when we were split up. It's amazing how one journey ends and another one begins.

We have so much in common, and it's easy to say that I love him though I barely know him. When I see this picture of his two little kids, half of his four children, I want to cry. I wish we could turn back the hands of time and grow up together again. But, this second chance is enough. It's the opportunity of a lifetime. I embrace that.

He didn't even touch my muffler

(A month and a half ago)
Your car sounds mean, but looks like a wuss.
Leave my muffler alone, it soothes me.

Twilight in Papago

Last night Hope wanted to start book 3 in a 4 book series she's reading. Since the power went off at the usual perfect time, she had to take her book outside to the picnic table to try and get some reading in before twilight (no pun intended). Like me, she's been reading by candlelight most of these nights. Wayne and I had another candlelit dinner. If it weren't for the mere fact that he finds positive in almost every situation I'd be a grumpy wreck. Still, I was a bit of a grump. TonTon was at driving school, spared from the outage, not quite happy, but comfortable at least. He would be home in time for the power to come back on. Sommer was the only one unaffected by the lack of electricity. I suppose if we could find a way to harness all her energy we'd be able to run a light and some fans. She could be like the Wonder Twins, only singular, but just as powerful. "Shape of a light bulb! Form of a ceiling fan!" If only.

Peyton's first day of school was yesterday. She had to wait for me to get off work to go home, so by the time we got there she had to scramble to do her homework in order to beat the power outage. This used to be manageable in a "suck it up, that's life in the CNMI" sort of way, but this is no way to live anymore. I don't even remember there being as many candles in my grandmother's house when I was growing up and those were the good old days. Someone's supposed to be looking after our best interest, using the valuable tax payer dollars we contribute to ensure essential public services to our community, right? How long are they going to take, and how much longer can we just sit aside and trust them to do the right thing?

From Ed:
I am pleading with you to take a stand for a better CNMI and for a better future for each and every one of us.
Please join us at the Garapan Fishing Base on Wednesday, September 17, at 5:30PM, at the Garapan Fishing Base. What is so significant about September 17 is that it is "Citizenship Day" in the United States, formerly known as "I am an American" day. It is high time that we we call the attention of President Bush and our leaders in the U.S. Congress and that we demand an end to our deplorable living conditions! Will you join us?

For more please see his blog.

Not sure why I'm complaining today. Maybe it's because I can already feel the frustration coming on. In a few more hours I'll be home. For once, I'd like to enjoy it with my family and not have to worry about what the next hours will have (or won't have) in store for us.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My life in recess due to a power outage

My day in court, home on the line
Almost there, steady my hands
Deep breath, steady my heart
Almost over
Not over yet

Thanks for nothing C.U.C.

Socialite with incisors

She's got a perfect record.
A husband to die for...literally.
Her biological clock has been ticking for hundreds of years.
She's heard all the blonde jokes.