The Filipino Heritage Observation

L and I recently went to Filipino Heritage Night at the San Francisco Giants when they played against the Cincinnati Reds. We never stay the whole time because L gets really cold (even with a long sleeved shirt, pants, jacket, and a blanket!) and very tired. 

To be fair we did wake up early and then walked around San Francisco all day. We went to the two story Disney store near Union Square.


We watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at the Metreon and went on the slides at the Yerba Buena playground. 


This was the second time either of us went to a luxury movie theater with reclining seats and it was so fun… until the toddler near us screamed his head off. I could hear polite yet tense conversation where the people next to the dad were trying to say, “Get your kid out of here.” The dad said he was doing the best he can.

But was he? 

On a plane, parents have nowhere to take their kids and these poor babies are most likely in physical pain with their ears popping up in flight. 

At a theater or a restaurant? I am on the side of removing your kid from the situation. 

True, I was a married-yet-single mom for many years while my husband was deployed but I waited a long time to bring them to the movies and sit down restaurants. I remember going out to dinner with my in laws and when the youngest started crying, everyone said to stay and eat but there was no way I would take from other people’s dining experience just as I would expect parents to remove their kids if they were in my situation. We work really hard for our money and do not splurge often so I expect a five star experience every time. 

Kids won’t stay that young forever and it’s not their fault.

But it is their parents’ responsibility.

Anyway, I digress.

We went on to the game and had such a great time! I love watching sports even if I don’t know what’s going on all the time. The energy, the excitement, and the fans make it a worthwhile experience you just don’t get watching the game at home… not to mention the Gilroy garlic fries!


Go Giants!

The Brunch Insufficiency

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and amazing women who treat my kids like their own! 


We went to a local chain restaurant for brunch and while the muffin and mimosa were delicious, the rest of the meal was lacking. That’s okay though because we were able to spend time together with my mom and get these silly photo ops.


I have about a month left of the school year and am sort of dreading it. Teachers form a bond with every class and every year, despite minor complaints, we believe this class was the best class ever. This year is no different.

Happy Mother’s Day!

The Spring Break Salinity

Most teachers get a week or two off for spring break. I got three and a half weeks and counting! 

I’m at a year round school which sounds terrible but it just means our summer break just gets broken up during the school year. I find that it’s a lot easier for me physically and emotionally to have frequent breaks rather than one long summer but that’s just me.

Our family did a lot during the break. We visited more family down in Southern California, we went on a cruise for the first time, and got our first stamps in our passports! 


I even worked at Silicon Valley Comic Con! 


I have met a lot of celebrities but rarely am I tongue tied. I stopped in my tracks when I saw the cast of Sesame Street and David Newell of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood! I’ve known them all of my life and it was a pleasure to be able to share that they have helped shape who I am today. If you ever get a chance to meet one of them, they will tell you that they never get tired of hearing stories of their viewers. 

Of all the traveling we did and all of the people I’ve met, perhaps the biggest impact on my well being was the fact that I did not work a single day of my break… that has not happened in a couple of years. I went from being a stay at home mom, to working part time (but really full since I kept subbing when I was off), to working full time plus extra since I subbed when I was off! I love this direction that my career has taken and am happy to sub for my colleagues but damn, this feels good. I’ll savor every moment until I go back to work on Thursday.

An Open Letter to the Writers of This is Us

Dear Writers,

I want to commend you on this evening’s episode about Randall and his father, William. 

You see, I too lost my father. I too face anxiety on a daily basis. I too retreat into my own self, my own mind, my own world when I am not able to cope with the outside world.

I am Randall. 

I’ve had my fair share of hospitals. Initially these visits were positive as I’d walk in pregnant and get wheeled out with a healthy baby. But then my father got sick.

He came to visit when our middle child was still the youngest child back in 2006. My husband was stationed in Virginia and he flew from California to spend time with his only two grandchildren. Near the end of his month long visit he did not look well but refused to go to a doctor. Instead he insisted that he was flying home in a couple of days and that, of course, he’d be fine when he returned home. 

He wasn’t. 

My mother and his sisters took him to the emergency room immediately. “Why didn’t you take him to the hospital?” they asked.

He didn’t want to go. Of all people, his wife and his sisters should have known how stubborn he was. 

They asked me to come home that night. I knew they were asking me to come home to say goodbye. 

My father, though present in my life, was not the most nurturing father per se but did what any elderly immigrant Filipino father could do. I knew he was proud of me. I knew he loved me. I knew he loved his grandchildren. He never said those things but I felt it. 

I felt it.

Soon after my father passed, I found myself in the emergency room. Heart palpitations. Stomach cramps. Shortness of breath. A self fulfilling prophesy born in the halls where my father died. 

But I was fine. I am fine. I am my own definition of fine.

Thank you for portraying this father-child relationship with honesty and without restraint. Thank you for showing a dying man who was literally living every moment as if it was his last moment as a reminder for us to do the same. Thank you for reminding me how much I loved this mysterious, stoic man who was my father. Thank you for reminding me that even though I physically felt the moment my father left this world, he never left my heart. 

Sincerely,

Someone who misses her dad

The Valentine Consumption

Valentine’s Day has always been bittersweet in our home. Most Valentine’s Days R was deployed or out on a training so I had to do everything myself. From candy to cards to a special meal, I did it all. Anything for the kids to know they are loved by not just one parent but by two.


This weekend R asked me to meet him and the kids at the local PetCo… to pick out a new kitten for me for Valentine’s Day! Luckily he warned me because I said no.

Our pets mean the world to me and while I know that the orange cat who had to be put down last year is in a better place, I don’t know if a new kitten would be welcomed in our already full house. The old gray cat may have been loving towards a new kitten but the chihuahua would have definitely made its life a living hell. 

The middle was really upset by my decision and understandably so. She’s very emotional and loves animals… well, she’s a lot like me. She’s doing better now, of course.

Last night R and I gave each other our presents. The kids “helped” us choose the other’s favorite candies: Scotchmallows from See’s for me and Lindts for him. And to be expected, we shared with the kids. 

This evening I took the kids to eat at one of our favorite burger joints and had frozen yogurt afterward. I am so full right now (of both love and food)! 

While R and I didn’t have a romantic dinner together because he was in class all day, it’s nice knowing we don’t need to. I always told him I never wanted flowers because flowers die and me being me, if I want flowers, I’ll buy my own flowers. 


He did buy me a mini rose plant one year but it didn’t stand a chance. We will have our weekly meal out and without the kids but we know it would happen without the Valentine’s Day label.

And that’s just fine with us.


Top 2000, bottom 2/3/2017

The Lemonade Reaction

On Saturday I was scheduled to attend a talk with the art director of a children’s book publisher but unfortunately her car broke down on the way to Sacramento and I was already halfway to the location. 

Not willing to accept defeat after finally attending a writer’s event after eleven years, I made a conscious decision not to go home and do what I normally do on a rainy day (watch movies, take a nap, not necessarily in that order); I went to look for writing inspiration at the library and at the bookstore. 

I found it.

I am writing again and am so excited to see where the story takes me. I will definitely share more details once I am more comfortable but in the meantime, enjoy this picture of the rain. 

Crushing Writer Fears

I didn’t always want to be a teacher. Like every other youth in my family I thought I’d go pre-med or go to dentistry school like my cousin who is also a USF alum. After turning eighteen and partying it up in the city, my grades suffered. But not all of my grades.

My savior in the form of Professor Marty (erm, I can’t remember his last name right now) took a chance on me and spoke to the Dean on my behalf. He explained that I was, in short, a good kid and deserved a second chance because I was getting an A in his class. The Dean agreed on the condition that I changed my major from science to ANYTHING ELSE.

It was a big blow to my ego that I was no longer a science major; after all, I (started to) kick butt in difficult science courses. I mean, who takes another science as an elective for the hell of it?

I do. It was marine biology and my teacher, Mr. Guardino, was awesome even if he turned in the letter of recommendation to USF late. I still got in. I still graduated. I still got a master’s from there.

But I was grateful for the chance to prove to myself that I could finish. It was by chance that a friend of mine suggested I teach a summer program for kids at the elementary school near campus.

What? Kids? Gross.

Ah, famous last words. 

I enjoyed picking these kids’ brains while making it seem like they were the ones guiding the direction of the class. Teaching and working with children just came easily to me. 

Writing also came easily to me when I was younger. I loved reading everything from magazines to Sweet Valley High so I thought the only thing better than consuming these literary works of art was creating them.

Like most parents, my father did not think I should become a writer because I wouldn’t be able to get a job after college. You know how on The Cosby Show, Theo got busted for bad grades and gave a touching monologue about how he wasn’t going to college to get a job but rather an education and his father totally called bullshit on him? Yep, same concept with my dad. 

I started writing again when I became a stay at home mom. I wrote A LOT. Like, a lot a lot.

I was hired to be a columnist for a now defunct children’s magazine. I reviewed CDs and DVDs, including Tenatious D before anyone had ever heard of Jack Black and won best article of true year for that site. I attended writing conferences, met the illustrators Diane and Leo Dillon, had a bagel with Jane Yolen, and introduced my son to the author and illustrator of Hugo Cabret! One of the authors even told me twice to get in touch with her agent after I pitched a YA story I was working on. I published a poem through Cricket Media, and even had the chance to interview Travis from Blink 182 and Steve from Blue’s Clues!

But I got scared. Everything moved so fast. 

Too fast.

There isn’t a moment that I don’t regret not taking my shot. (Yes, that’s a Hamilton reference.)

So now, I feel like it’s time. Little signs to go for it are everywhere in the form of encouragement from friends and my husband. Reminders of what I could have been doing RIGHT NOW. I’m finding all of my personal rejection forms, my old manuscripts, everything. 

If I really didn’t want to do this, I would have gotten rid of it years ago.

But I didn’t.

In one notebook and a file folder, I found two separate collections of poems, three outlines for YA/MG novels, four picture book manuscripts, and two unfinished YA manuscripts! I found three poems to revise and polished them with fresh yet wiser eyes. 

Here we go…