Friday, October 31, 2008

Bring it!

Hope and I made Graveyard Pudding for Peyton's and Nannie's class last night. Even though Peyton and Sommer are spending the weekend away we thought it would be nice to keep our Halloween traditions going. Hope says she will make chocolate stinky fafas and graveyard pudding with her kids one day.
It's not as fancy as we used to make it, but budget cuts and other restraints mean a bare bones graveyard, pardon the horrible pun. S'okay, we had an awesome time and it tastes much better than it looks.

Peyton and her friends after our school's Halloween Parade

Bring it on! I'm a fluent reading, sweet smilin', mommy hugging champion!
My little princess Sommer on her way to trick or treating.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

That's What I Said Thursday!

What would you do for a Klondike Bar?The funniest answer wins a Klondike Bar.
For reals

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chocolate stinky hairy fafa

What's your favorite Halloween treat? I'm still trying to decide what to make with Hope and TonTon this Friday.Graveyard pudding? Mine is made with green colored coconut flakes for grass and a dug up grave with frosting skeleton.
Haunted Hands with popcorn, fruit and nuts and a few chocolate or peanut butter pieces thrown in. My favorite treat of all times is Chocolate Stinky Hairy Fafa made with graham crackers, nutella spread and chocolate sprinkles that look like hair. Hope is probably going to her school function and Tonton might want to hang out at my brother's. The little girls won't be around cause it's not my weekend. OK, can I just be really honest and say this sucks air big time?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

You like eat?

Peanuts and peas at Red Box

Bean paste stew with beef at Wol Mi Jung

Avocado roll at Shin Shen

Where do these dishes come from?
Hint #1: not from the same restaurant.
Hint #2: they're not all restaurants.
Hint #3: Sing mi tuna roll

Peyton's B-Day

What a totally great day! Peyton got her birthday wish, a brand new bike. And, just in case we forgot how good we have it, right when the festivities were over, as I was getting ready to do the loads of dishes, the power went out. At least they waited until all the guests left.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Peyton Ha'ani

Peyton Ha'ani will be 8 years old tomorrow. I wasn't really sure if she was a girl or a boy and the ultrasound didn't confirm her gender until late in my pregnancy, hence the unisex name. There is no doubt in anyone's mind now that she is a true girly-girl. Wayne and I put together some treat bags for her class yesterday and I brought some healthy snacks over to surprise her. I wish I'd gotten a picture of her face when I walked in, it was priceless. Just like my Ha'ani girl.
I read Koala Lou to the kiddos. I love Mem Fox, and this story is just so cute I couldn't help it. It's a great story to teach personification. You could also integrate with other subject areas or use it as the anchor for a theme unit on Australia.
Peyton's B-day menu: 100% juice, raisin oatmeal cookie (one per student) and yogurt with optional granola topping. Yummy comes in all kinds of food!
You don't need lots of money to make a kid's day, just a little time, some creative financing and lots of love.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Random Hump Day Thoughts

Blockbuster is closing and all the movies are on sale for about $2 apiece. Shoots. The worst thing about sales is being totally claustrophobic. Wayne and I drove by Blockbuster last night to witness the madness. There were so many dvds I would have liked to get, but it wasn't worth the agony of having to weave through the crowd with my pulse racing and my head spinning. Too bad.

My little brother Jake got suspended for "Intent to receive lime". He is the only school age sibling left and mom is on an extended trip, probably frolicking around Italy somewhere unaware of the trauma my sister Yvette and I are unleashing on Jake. He he he. Peter is an innocent bystander as always because Peter is always too nice to cause harm or emotional distress on anyone at any time, even by accident. Wuss. Yvette and I decided that rather than send Jake home to be supervised by Peter or the family X-Box, we would give him some creative discipline. So, my brother has spent the last two days at GES as part of our illustrious custodial crew. He also moonlights as a go-fer, vacuums my office, supervises recess and runs errands for the school secretary. Here' s a picture for Principal Le'au at Saipan Southern High. Doesn't he look reformed?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Footbinding no longer practiced in the world

...because the fashion shoe industry has found other ways to torture women. I clicked my peep-toe pumps together three times but the pain did not subside!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Student Poverty

Here's an interesting piece addressing student poverty. In times of economic crisis schools are being pressured to demonstrate high student achievement without addressing critical areas such as student mental and physical health. Without a holistic approach and without the proper support from our Federal and LOCAL government, we will continue to struggle in our endeavor to raise scores. Why not raise healthy, responsible, lifelong learners instead?
LFA (Learning First Alliance) members agreed that, at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty, federal investments in education are critical investments in the nation's prosperity. You can find more information and read the entire statement here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

That's What I Said Thursday!

Question and Question
Answer the question of the person who commented before you in the form of another question.
Let's begin...

How you feeling today?

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Who, being loved, is poor?

Oscar Wilde said that, and I concur!

"Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn't commit"
- Eli Khamarov

It's Blog Action Day 08 and the topic is Poverty. Not too many people are comfortable talking about poverty. Like an iceberg, we know it exists because we see some form of it in everyday life, but there are just too many undiscussables beneath the surface. We don't like to look too long at poor people, especially children. Sometimes we have the audacity to walk the other way when someone we know who is hurting approaches us. A Japanese proverb reads "In wealth, many friends; in poverty, not even relatives." I have to admit, I'm a little uncomfortable too because this subject almost always leads to politics and I don't believe our government or any government for that matter, really has the power to address it. We muss so many things up. We spend so much on things that have so little return. I'll share my thoughts, minus whatever political judgments I may have on the subject. Or at least I'll try.

"Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him"
- Benjamin Franklin
I find it kind of odd that poverty is so offensive to many people, as if the poor always had a choice in the matter. Personally, I find complacency more revolting. You know what I'm talking about, the person with the "hand out" mentality that believes he is entitled to free everything and takes no personal responsibility to improve his standard of life.

"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty" - Mother Teresa
There is no magic bullet solution for poverty, and there are oh so many forms of it. The neediest people in our world today are suffering from more than financial hardship. Affluenza has left many family in ruins without having to physically tear them apart. Lots of children suffer from the "buy me" syndrome, pre-cursor to full blown affluenza. They grow up to be "help me" adults who need weekly dollaralysis treatment. Meanwhile, their literally poor parents die a slow financial death trying to keep up with what every other kid's parents bought them. Speaking of emotions, low EQ has contributed to the breakdown of relationships, desensitization to violence, even road rage. I'm willing to bet we have low social E.Q. When was the last time you paid it forward? We're just not investing interpersonally or intra-personally anymore. We just don't care about anything other than the pursuit of more. It's sad really.

"Women do two thirds of the world's work. Yet they earn only one tenth of the world's income and own less than one percent of the world's property. They are among the poorest of the world's poor." - Barber B. Conable Jr.
It isn't always that way, sometimes bad things happen to good people. Er, mediocre people even - people who prepare. Groucho Marx said "I worked my way up from nothing to an extreme state of poverty." I remember the day I decided that I wanted to pursue higher education. It was the first time I experienced heartbreak. I vowed that I would never be the woman who got left wondering what hit her after she'd decided she was going to let love and faith guide her life. Sixteen years later it seems to be a disadvantage to be able to support my own children. The message I seem to be getting is that women who divorce stand a better chance at getting adequate child support if they remain destitute and uneducated. Divorce is a mathematical war for which women are not well equipped.

This poverty post is getting long and I've no more quotes to share, but I do have remnants of ideas I think will help. Notice how I don't dare to call them solutions. If we waged a war on poverty, what would our weapons look like?

1. An educational revolution - a pre-requisite to an economic revival. Why? It builds a skilled labor pool. The money we spend teaching our Kindergarten students to read will pay dividends when they are running our social security administration and providing medical care for our loved ones, for ourselves. Over half of the students at my school are eligible for free and reduced meals. If we do our job right, my hope will be that these same children will not qualify for food stamps, low income housing; but rather that they will be paving the way for social reform.
2. A skilled work force - good customer service and skilled labor begets a good profit margin and a booming economy. We are preparing today's students for jobs that don't even exist. The success of our economic endeavors depends on whether or not we can build a literate and techno-literate pool of employees.
3. Family-centered nurturing environment- Investors need to know that they can build their livelihood somewhere without having to leave their families behind. What businesses do we attract? What businesses do we support? What incentives are here for sustainable growth in our economy? If you were an investor would you settle here with your family? Families buy or rent homes, groceries, pay tuition, play, grow and plant roots where they can be nourished. Strong families also contribute to high collective E.Q. and they help to eradicate the disastrous effects of Affluenza.
4. Effective Rehabilitative and Empowerment Programs - Too much to say here, but basically we need programs that do more than just hand out short term band aids. We need to empower people to take charge and take back their lives. Our government cannot afford to turn away from the downtrodden. We need qualified mental health professionals to address the harmful effects of family violence, substance abuse, etc. It's time to remove the negative stigma associated with therapy and rehab. We need to think of mental health care as the glasses to our social astigmatism. I have a dream about a non-profit organization that teaches women how to "get back on their feet". That's what happens after you fall flat on your face after being swept off your feet. Bit of humor there. I'm kidding. It is basically a place where women can go to learn how to do things for themselves after a crisis. Things like putting a resume together, filling out job applications, professional demeanor, interviewing and more. Since I still own the rights to this idea, I'll just ask my professional woman friends if they want to help. If you do, call me!

Too much to say on poverty I'm afraid I'll miss Blog Action Day altogether. Since this is hastily written, I'll have to wait til all the children are in b before I go back to read/edit this. Peace.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

That's What I Said Thursday!

That's my baby brother Peter!
I never really did anything mean to him when we were little because he was so cute. Did you play tricks on your siblings when you were younger? What was the funniest prank you pulled?

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lost Oreo

He may be around the Chinatown Garapan area where he was last seen. Oreo is a small white dog with some black fur. He answers to "Oreo" and is wearing a brown leather collar with silver metal studs. Please call Angelo if you find him or if you know where he is. More info on this blog.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sometimes I like to set my freckles free

I used to date a guy who would constantly ask me if I planned on wearing any make-up. It was so annoying. "You think you should put on a little lipstick before we head out?" he'd ask as if I didn't recognize the tone that actually meant, "oh please paint your mouth red so that my homies back at the base won't think I've gone crazy and hooked up with some Pacific Amish chick."
So I learned to adjust. First lipstick, then eyeliner, then mascara. They are the mainstay of my make-up regimen. Eventually, I couldn't stand the way I looked without them. Going natural felt unnatural, if you can imagine that. I toyed with blush and eyeshadow and would wear them to appease, but could never reconcile them with my personality.
You see, I have a confession to make. I have freckles, laugh lines, and one gray hair on my left eyebrow. I wear glasses and I even tie my hair up in an untamed ponytail when I want to feel good. I am learning to love the bear faced dork I used to be. Learning to go without the gunk and letting my freckles breathe. I like me this way much better. What about the homies? A quiƩn le importa!


I needed that!


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

Clothing: Shopping tip- you can get shoes for 89 cents at the bowling alley. I buy clothes two times a year; once in July, right before school opens and once in December, half-way through the school year. These are very auspicious dates because they coincide with two powerful forces: the ability to fly off-island and those wonderful things all mothers love, mammoth sales! The last time I bought clothes on island was when I paid my sister five bucks for her jeans. The only thing I don't buy online are pedicures and shoes. You can't be too picky with shoes when you live around dust and mud. Everyone in my household except the male species gets their footwear from Payless Shoe Source. That's because I have the utmost respect for and will not come between the special relationship boys and their sneakers and women and their purses have. Have you noticed that the only thing really affordable on island are shoes and pedicures? Go figure.
I bet deep down inside you wish your mom would take you clothes shopping every August for the new school year. Peyton(7) is now wearing some of Hope's (13) clothes, and Sommer's (4) too. She is the only ambidresstrous one in the family. Hand-me-downs are complicated with my girls. Besides having totally different body types stemming from their multicultural heritage, they each have their own staunch fashion preferences. I buy the majority of their clothes at Old Navy online or dare I say it, Target. In the Fall, the online stores are having clearance sales for summer clothes and since it's always summertime here, I take full advantage of that. I also make the biannual trek to Guam in search of the illusive cool outfit at Ross Dress For Less. I am a bargain shopper and I am not ashamed! Once, two years ago I had to run to a local store to buy Hope a last minute outfit for her pool day promotion ceremony. I spent $75 on a pair of quick dry board shorts, a tank top and suit! My wallet still has the scars from that purchase. I vowed never to be caught off guard again.
Buying something on sale is a very special feeling. In fact, the less I pay for something, the more it is worth to me. I have a dress that I paid so little for that I am afraid to wear it. I could spill something on it, and then how would I replace it for that amount of money? ~Rita Rudner. I wish that were true of Saipan sales. A sale on Saipan means that they've temporarily reduced the already ridiculously marked up prices on their clothes. Translation: for only a short time you can actually buy your clothes for full price! Retailers here capitalize on the fact that most people cannot afford to shop off island, so they have no idea that the pretty yellow matching tank top and shorts set that they're buying for $35.00 actually costs somewhere around $7.95 at Walmart . They are also unaware that the $57 dollar designer blouse hanging on the fancy display rack can be found for 45% less if you dig through the women's aisle at Ross. I have a term for this: Retail Audacity. I find it very unfortunate that, especially at times like these, some retailers do not lower their prices to help consumers. I know, business is business and profit is the bottom line, but if people could afford more they'd buy more. I don't know about you, I'm a creature of habit and a loyal patron of places that go out of their way to make you feel valued. Bobby Cadillac's gave us a discount on our sundaes when they ran out of whipped cream and nuts. I just about fainted, but that is the kind of customer service customers actually appreciate.
Clothing is an essential part of our human needs, not merely adornment. The customer base for the clothing market is 100% because believe it or not folks, everyone needs clothes. So why are so many people like me shopping somewhere else when there are more than enough clothing stores right here?

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

WARNING: Korean cure for hangover only for Koreans

Hope, TonTon, his girlfriend Kimmie and I had Korean barbecue for dinner last night. Wayne is in Bundang Korea this week, so I had to do the ordering myself. I was able to get a full meal on the table without any help from Kimmie even. I usually only manage a barely audible "thank you" every time the nice waitress comes to the table with yet another little dish. I texted Wayne to tell him and guess what he was having for dinner? By the time Wayne made it to his last meeting of the day it was already time for me to call it a night.
I was supposed to stay up and find out how the post meeting karaoke outing went, but I was already dreaming of pajeon. Sorry, honey.

Wayne did not bring his camera to Bundang, so I did what anyone does - I googled it. Nice place. He says there are no flies there. It would probably be real heaven on earth if there were no mosquitoes.

This was on the menu at Wol Mi Jung. What's your favorite after party tonic?
In keeping with my theme, here is our breakfast this fine Sunday morning. A request from Hope, it's spam and hotdog pajeon! Only in the CNMI. It gives new meaning to the integration of cultures. Yum!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Forty and Fabulous!

My good friend Hee Jae turned 40 this week. I am so proud of her, she looks stunning. All of that nutritiony stuff they taught her at nutritionist school really works!

Friday, October 3, 2008

The WOW Factor

Peyton ran into my office beaming today. She got a certificate from Mr. Buniag for 14 (count 'em folks) "Wow!" slips. She earned them by demonstrating our Megaskill of being caring. So far she has not gotten one "oops!" slip. Mr. Buniag is a great teacher and I applaud his use of an intrinsic rewards and incentives program for his students. If you could give a wow/oops slip to anyone this week, who would it be and what would it be for?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sommer Kisses

forget that she left her toys all over the bedroom floor...again
forget that she dipped her fingers in the peanut butter...and left the cap off
forget that she loves to play with my earrings...and loses them
her kisses are free, sweet, unselfish and ...
totally indiscriminate

Did I Renew My Trampoline Pedicurist Certification Yet?

I went to sign up for the new life insurance on the LAST DAY! Yup, I am a procrastinator. I thought long and hard about adding accidental death insurance. Was it really necessary? Wait. I sure hope my death isn't pre-planned because what else other kind of death is there than accidental? I should have kept copies of the questionnaire for the Accidental Death Insurance because I giggled so hard. It was basically asking me if anyone had it in for me. Hmmm...lemme think, lol. I shouldn't let my imagination get the best of me. Anyway, I answered the questions with as serious a face as I could make. No, I wasn't involved in activities like aeronautics; nope I am not an elected official-so no assassination risk there; nah, I don't plan on bungee jumping from the top of 360 just for fun. I signed up for all of it just in case. Life basic, accidental death, cancer, crossing the street, simultaneous gum chewing and dancing....

On a side note, I walked in and saw Tami sitting there. I of course behaved as spontaneously and socially graceful as I always do and walked over to say hello, commented on how awesome she looks and chatted for a few seconds before heading over to the nice agent. NOT. Well, that's what I wanted to do Tami, but my shyness always gets the best of me. You really do look great!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

That's What I Said Thursday!

If you could be the personal assistant of anyone, whose assistant would you be?
What would your main responsibilities be?
My answer: Hee Jae Lee
I would be in charge of confiscating all the SPAM from school cafeterias.
BTW, Happy Birthday Hee Jae, Princess of the Food Pyramids!!

Tami: Tyler Perry ;)

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