Filipino For Kids

Well it’s still February, so I made it =). So here’s the project I have been busy for the past few months. I have wanted to do this for many years, in a different form back then. I have always wanted to teach Evan how to speak filipino but was confused how to go about it. Then I thought, how about it the way how he learned to read – by watching videos. Problem was, there are hardly filipino videos for kids available online – the way I wanted him to be taught anyway so I decided to create my own.

The one on the website is just the tip of the iceberg. As of the moment, I have around 19 more videos waiting for a little bit more editing then it will be ready to be uploaded. I am initially aiming for 25. Wish I had more than 2 hands. =)

So take a peek and hopefully you’ll drop by more often in the coming weeks. See you at filipinoforkids.com

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New Year, New Direction

A belated Happy New Year to all of you! As you might have guessed and as I have mentioned before I have been busy with other stuff. And this other stuff is taking my life in another direction.

I am excited about it but I am far from ready to reveal what it is. This was a germ of an idea since Evan was a baby and my life has slowly lead towards equipping me with the knowledge and skills to make it into a reality. I have only been working on it for the past 2 months and as of this moment I am probably still just 30% of the way in completing it.

I see early mornings and days spent in places where there are no internet access so I can focus and beat the deadline I have promised myself. I want it to be up and running before we leave for our Philippine mid March. So expect an announcement by the end of February on this site.

I will still have a presence on the web and probably will be blogging too but the theme will be very different. Here’s a teeny hint of what it is:

Are you excited? You should be =) Be seeing you guys!

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Christmas Greetings And A Couple Of Photos…

From our family to yours:

Yesterday we went to a fun wedding of Tom’s niece. Shown here is a hungry but handsome Evan in his suit eating hor d’oeuvres. I was very proud how extremely well behaved he was, no running around like a nutty nut. =)

This is also before I discovered that my 6 year old is a relentless, dancing machine. Dancing for 3 straight hours only stopping for water breaks.

Had a lot of good photos from last night but this is my favorite, of course:

Happy Holidays and see you in the New Year!

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Sweeter The Second Time Around

I consciously decided not to talk about the election this year because it is an exhausting and time consuming exercise. But I feel that I am going to burst if I don’t write something about President Obama’s sweet victory last night.

When Mitt Romney was still fumbling around in the month of September especially with the release of the damning video that captured him saying about not caring for the other 47%, and Obama was soundly beating him in the polls, I was actually worried about voter apathy. I was worried that Obama’s supporters would get complacent and not show up to vote. When Obama lost the first debate I somehow knew, we, the democrats needed it. We needed something to get fired up. Especially when during the first debate Mitt made it clear he was determined to win the election in the most deplorable way: pretend to be who he wasn’t; pretend to believe what he didn’t. A move that might have earned him a surge of supporters but lost a few of the more discerning ones. Even the paper from his adopted state endorsed Obama because of this in an opinion piece aptly titled “Too Many Mitts”.

While right wing pundits would largely credit Hurricane Sandy for Obama winning but it was the mega-watt smile Joe Biden (fondly called the “Laughing Warrior” by Obama last night) who stopped the bleeding when a lot of democrats were too absorbed in wringing their hands and whining over Obama’s lackluster performance during the first debate. Republicans like to poke fun at Biden, trying to pass him off as a bumbling old man (a description more suited to Clint Eastwood) especially after they bitterly witnessed Biden brush Ryan (and his lies) easily off like a fly. Then of course, Obama, wiser to Mitt’s shape-shifter trickery, owned his rival at the second and third debate. Right wingers who like to dismiss Obama’s brilliant mind as teleprompter dependent, didn’t have that excuse for their candidate losing the second and third debate, especially for the latter where he was supposed to skewer Obama on foreign policy.

I had promised myself to try really hard not to talk about politics on Facebook. I am aware that some of my friends are not democrats like me but I am truly befuddled by the vitriol, shallowness¬† and over-simplistic non-rationale of the statuses, links and photos that appear on my news feed. People will always bend the truth how they want to see it. I can be accused of the same thing. But here’s my question, who, as how this election went, was spot on in it’s prediction? Who had the better pulse of the country?

From time to time I do try to read intelligent conservative writers such as Michael Smerconish’s take down on the extremism of his own party “Obama: Substance Not Smears” If more Republicans are able to discuss their issues with civility as Smerconish and not the kind of hate rhetoric that comes out from the vile mouths of of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and their ilk, we would be a lot better off now rather than have wasted the last 4 years stonewalling in their efforts to fail a democrat president, much more a black one, in his first term. Just ask McConnell.

When Romney came out to give his concession speech, Tom and I couldn’t help but notice how he looked shellshocked as if he really wasn’t expecting or even entertaining the thought of getting defeated. I am surprised at how the Romney campaign could get it so wrong. Especially when Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio was called very quickly. As my husband would say, that is the danger when you insulate yourself too much inside your party that you believe your own hype. Take for example this conservative blogger’s prediction of Obama Losing Despite The Help Of Hurricane Sandy. Please take note of the said author’s credentials, I would be interested how he would be able to explain this to his clients. It is not surprising if your source of information is Fox News too, especially after how they argued amongst themselves last night on how to call the election. I would like to be a fly on the wall when Karl Rove tries to spin this loss to his billionaire friends.

Now compare this to the precision that now demi-God Nate Silver predicted the election. Have you seen the movie Moneyball? Nate Silver was the inspiration for that genius character. It really all comes down to math (as Bill Clinton would like to say) and science. But then of course, we can’t really expect those in the extreme right who scoff at climate change, evolution etc. to be able to grasp of such logic.

The result of the election also has something to do that it was a contest between the Pro-Obama and Anti-Obama NOT Pro-Obama and Pro-Romney. There is a difference when you believe in the person you are putting into office. You invest in that person emotionally, financially and physically because that person inspires you. My husband and I were again campaign volunteers this year. Tom, aside from giving money (which would have bought me more than an iPad) to the campaign, he has also taken a couple of days off to spend it volunteering. As for me I did the unthinkable, phone-phobic me actually even did phonebanking for Obama. I read in our city’s online newspaper this morning that volunteers from our local Obama headquarters were partly responsible for the victory in Wisconsin and Iowa because our phonebanking recruited door to door volunteers for a few cities in those states.

So what did the Anti-Obamas do for their candidate aside typing childish rants on Facebook?

The volunteers were essential to the well-oiled Obama campaign machine. And the genius David Plouffe. And David Axelrod.

What the election also proved is that it can not be bought by billionaires. For now anyway. Hopefully never. It proved that volunteer callers were more effective than scary robocalls. For my state and the state of Indiana, it proved that negative ads don’t work – in the state level. The democrats ad of removing a tea kettle (to symbolize tea party) was more effective than his opponent’s fear mongering ad of the other’s “shady business”. Tammy Duckworth who was outspent 12-1 by the Joe Walsh’s SuperPac, won.

The senate race was particularly sweet for me when all those ignorant Republican senators who made offensive remarks about women’s bodies and rape were unceremoniously booted off.

Here’s the thing, the Republicans have to realize that there is a new face of america where women, immigrants and young voters are not the minorities anymore. They have to realize that it is the Tea Partiers who are the minority. And that they shouldn’t kowtow to constituents who are extreme in their views. You know, conspiracy theory, birther, racist types.

Who am I to complain when a Republican status quo would be doing my party a favor, right? But like most people in this country I dream of bi-partisanship from both parties. Really.

I never thought I would feel this passionately about Obama winning the election as I did 4 years ago. But surprisingly I was more passionate about it compared to before. Because now, it is not only voting him out of pure optimism but knowing what Obama is capable of. Despite all the efforts of the Republicans to sabotage him he accomplished a lot of the policies I believed in – healthcare, end of Iraq war, taking out of Bin Laden, equal pay for women, affordable college education, bettering the economy, saving the auto industry, bringing down unemployment. He exceeded my expectations – I never really thought he would be able to do much especially after near depression we were when his presidency started.

And please don’t talk to me about the deficit unless we can agree about ending the Bush tax cuts. And also don’t talk to me about the right of the unborn unless we can talk about children with leukemia having the right to healthcare.

Now that I got that off my system let me enjoy the rest of this wonderful, extra-special day.

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Witnessing The Devastation On TV

I have been transfixed on our tv and internet since yesterday watching horrified the devastating effects Hurricane Sandy has brought in to the effects. A calamity so large that we can feel it all the way here in Chicago. Locals have been warned of the 20-30 foot waves in Lake Michigan and there was even a possibility of the Lakeshore Drive closing last night and today.

It is just eerie to me how the images of flood and people trying to traverse them brought back memories of Hurricane Katrina and how surreal it was for me at that time that such a scene could be happening to a first world, super power country like the US. I have seen too much of it from my country, even in my own hometown at one time were 8,000 lives perished in a flash flood. And now it has happened again, this time to the more affluent communities in the States. Nature really knows no socio-economic boundaries. But then of course, if you are rich you are bound to have a second, or a third home somewhere else untouched.

It’s a bit cloudy and chilly day here in Chicago and the mood has me reaching for comfort food. The kind of which we in the typhoon-power prone part of the Philippines reach for during power outages: instant pancit canton and sardines. We are quite seasoned “survivors” to storms and the inconveniences it brings that us kids at that time even welcome the excuse for a no-school-day and rare chance to don our sweaters. But of course, it was nothing like Hurricane Sandy, I would hate to think what storm as powerful as Sandy would bring to a poor and tiny country like the Philippines. It would take years for us to recover. Not to mention lives lost.

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