The Middle Age Mandate: Part 2

I’ve decided to cut out meat to feel better and hopefully shed some weight. Despite a couple of setbacks this week in the form of my mom’s delicious Filipino food and a graduation party for my nephews, I’ve been doing pretty well. 


Clothes that were too tight a month ago now fit and I don’t feel as self conscious in most of my clothes. I still have a way to go and I hope I can continue to have mostly vegetarian or vegan meals. I feel good. Healthier. Less deprived more often. 


Spinach blueberry and banana smoothie with soy milk. (I’m not trying to be fancy; I’m lactose intolerant!)

I’ve been trying to drink these dense smoothies every morning before milk and with a bit of local honey to fight allergies, they’re pretty delicious! I get hungry after a couple of hours so I have to make sure I have a snack on hand or I lose my mind. 

I recently took a frozen pad Thai meal from Trader Joe’s to work for lunch and while it was delicious, I realize I felt famished after eating. There wasn’t enough protein in my meal to feed my hunger and I probably ate too much for dinner to overcompensate. I felt terrible for a brief moment and realised I now know that I need to have enough protein at every meal. 

My husband R has also changed his diet in a very different way. While I have tried to adopt as close to a vegan lifestyle as possible (my silly rules help me avoid sugar), he has chosen to cut out processed food and white flour/sugar/rice. Hes been really supportive of me and I of him. Our meals even overlap when I make quinoa salad or beans and rice. He’s even cut out tobacco! Of course, he is losing weight faster than me! 

I’ll keep you updated! 

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The Lactose Latitude

Earlier this week my husband’s maternal grandfather lost his battle to Alzheimer’s. Yesterday we made our way across three states to the beautiful state of Utah.


We visited with his parents and his grandmother late last night and they seem to be doing well. The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow morning. 

I have never been to a non-Catholic wake or funeral so I feel a little uncomfortable. Not because I don’t want to be here or at a non-Catholic wake but because when someone passes it is always a difficult situation. I am unfamiliar with the customs and traditions of my husband’s family. But we are here for them. 

We have offered to take care of lunch in the only way we can in the form of cheap pizzas. My mother in law cooked for 60 people yesterday so I hope this alleviates a little stress for the family. 

Speaking of which, a visit to the grocery store in search of nongreasy and semi-healthy food was extremely necessary. Now I’ve been eating a near-vegan diet for a couple of weeks with a couple of meat-eating days, here and there. But I’ve really felt the painful and at times, nauseating difference for the past two days. One, for indulging in Mexican food for a graduation party and two, for a grease filled day on the road yesterday. My body is not recovering like it used to. Dietary rules have gone out the window during travel and just for the overall gratitude that his family is feeding us. 

My husband’s grandfather was always kind to me, both he and his wife wholly embracing me and my family. While he will be missed by his large and extended family, his battle was a long and suffering. We will pray for him. 

Our view from our hotel room

Passing through Nevada 


UPDATE: The eight pizzas were scarfed down by 3 dozen people, including a dozen kids! Our greeting from the kids (all of whom I had never met before) when we pulled up was, “PIZZAS!” I lol’d.

The Creativity Factor

With the girls on a short break from school, the middle A and I joined my husband R for a day in San Francisco. 
Until recently, A would talk about how much she loved San Francisco, how it was the best city in the entire world, and how she was going to be a marine biologist when she grew up.

Now she doesn’t believe any of that.

What happened?

I’m not sure myself and if you’ve got a reasonable explanation, please send it my way.

Now she wants to move to L.A. and be famous!

   
   
I suspect this is normal for her age. I wanted to become a writer and work at BOP magazine. Remember that magazine? Remember Sassy? Ah, the memories. 

The only difference between my upbringing and hers is that I’ll encourage her to be whatever she wants… Within reason. 

Her godparents are part-time actors and models but they’re also graduates of UC Davis and highly successful in their careers. One of my best friends said it best when she believed our parents were right in pushing us towards practical majors that led to actual careers (even though at the time, my soul was crushed). R even said the other day that we are in a place in our lives where we can freely pursue our dreams with his retirement and my career. I’m still trying to figure out if writing is still my dream. Sometimes I look around and feel so grateful for my husband, 

  
(Pssst! It’s an old pic!)

my family, 

  

(Some of) my friends, 

   
 
and my job 

  
that I already feel like I’m living in a dream.

In the meantime, I want A to do both. She can go to college and prepare herself for a great career AND she can go for her dreams.

She can and she will. 

We had a wonderful time at the Chuldren’s Creativity Museum at Yerba Buena Gardens. I was afraid that the museum would be too young for her. Upon entry there are so many activities for toddlers and preschoolers but we quickly found other amazing exhibits for her age!

We made our own clay figurines and created a stop motion movie!

   
   
I’m a little obsessed with Doctor Who…

   
 
A even made her own video game. She created her character and levels.

   
   
If these are the kinds of experiences she needs to do both, I’m so happy I’m along for the ride.

   
 

The Leech Lesson

My first teaching job was terrifying. Back in the 90s you didn’t even need a teaching credential, an emergency credential sufficed. I was in the middle of my teacher ed program and didn’t even have student teaching under my belt. Still, that did not stop me from working as a teacher at the age of 23! 

Almost two decades later and I can’t believe how much time has passed. Even with eight years behind me, I still feel like a new teacher.

Nothing is set in stone yet but I’m mostly sure I’ve still got a teaching position in the fall. I am very excited to share some moments from a teacher workshop. See if you can figure out what we were studying…

   
   
My mom watched the kids since R was at school and the workshop was in the evening. They certainly got a kick out of these pics and wanted to know which ones were coming home with me!

Sadly I broke the news that the animals and plants belonged to the college lab. 

My mom was fully disgusted by this little leech since it reminded her of navigated rivers when she was a little girl in the Philippines! I can’t even imagine! I did pick up that little guy (okay, it was a dare from my esteemed colleagues) but it never latched on. Blecch.

 
P.S. I would never hold a tarantula. At least not that size anyway. That spider’s a fake!

  

The Waiting Room Rumination

I rounded the parking lot for the second time in a row. I didn’t mind the long walk to the back of the hospital where the ER entrance was located but I knew my husband R wouldn’t let me get the car for him after he was released. He would insist on walking to the car. 

We are currently in hour 4 of waiting to be seen. I repeat, we are currently in hour 4.

R has experienced a lot of trauma from the accident as well as all of the surgeries proceeding so when he started to experience pain that didn’t go away this morning, he was mildly concerned. 

I went to work that afternoon and was waiting for the girls to get out of band when he texted me:

I am going to the ER after I pick up the boy.

I called him and immediately we had the conversation that is constantly on loop:

  • Maybe I should go to the ER.
  • No, I don’t need to go.
  • If I go, you don’t need to come. I can drive myself.
  • Wait, the pain is the same.
  • Maybe I’ll just wait until tomorrow. 

So fast forward lots of phone calls to friends and my mom to cover kid duty including errands, dinner, and bedtime.

We are still here.

  
I must be getting better at this. As soon as R checked himself in, I made a beeline for the Starbucks in the hospital. In an effort to save money and calories, I have avoided going out for coffee in a couple of weeks. Tonight, I savored every drop of my soy tuxedo. 

An hour later, R said he was hungry. I knew my mission: To find the Mexican restaurant we visited last time before they closed and before it got too dark for me to be out all alone.

Turned out, he didn’t want to eat yet. I mean, really, no one wants to eat in an ER! 

So here we are. His burrito patiently awaits his return in the car. My nachos, however, are long gone. 

And finally, after four long hours, R’s name has been called. I made the mistake of asking if I should go with him.

Of course, I should!

But he scurried off before I could realize my mistake.

Don’t worry. I’ll make my way back there. After all, I’m really good at this.

Happy New Year! 

Hope you had a wonderful holiday season! We have been fortunate to spend time with family and friends, near and far. 

Right before Christmas, we drove to Los Angeles for a much-needed vacation to the happiest place on earth… Disneyland! Because of the new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there was so much excitement in the air. I tried to cosplay as a StormTrooper but was quickly shot down by security, no pun intended. Evidently their rules had changed in the last 48 hours to a ban on cosplay for adults. 

   
 
I was able to quickly get these pics before I got kicked out! No, I didn’t get kicked out though I wonder if the kids will say to each other, decades later, “Remember the time we went to Disneyland and Mom almost got removed from the park?” 

Noticeably absent from the pics is my husband R, partly to save money but mostly because he just can’t handle the crowds anymore. He expressed his dismay and believes that he is getting worse but really… Everyone hates crowds! Even I have to take a break from it all and return to our hotel room to take a breather. My happiness and adrenaline level probably outweigh my disdain for crowds. Maybe one day he’ll join us but it’s not something I push or make a big deal over.

While I love seeing my family on Christmas, I hate traveling so we opted to stay home. We went to church on Christmas Eve so I could assist with the CFF classes when they performed during mass. 

  
At the Grand Californian Resort in Anaheim, CA

The spirit of giving is very much alive in our home. L, at only 8 years old, gave all of us handmade Christmas cards. A, who’s 10, used her own money to buy all of us chocolate bars even though they still had plenty left over from Halloween. She even bought cat toys for our old tabby and a chew toy for our dogs to share. And while the boy didn’t give us anything to open, his kind manner sets the tone for his younger sisters. For that we are grateful. 

Our New Year’s celebrations have always been low key as we’ve found the older we get, the less alcohol we consume. We actually stayed up until midnight with family and friends, a first for the two younger kids.  

   
On Monday the girls go back to school. They’ve been off since Thanksgiving break so I can imagine how difficult it will be to wake up… Even more so for R and I though! We’re going to have to be more awake than them to wake them up!

The boy and I go back on Tuesday. I’ll make sure I have my coffee machine ready then.

In the meantime, happy new year from all of us, wherever you may be. Here’s to a prosperous and blessed 2016!

   
    
 

The Fall Finale

 
Fall is not over yet and it sure took it’s time getting to Northern California. We were in downtown Sacramento this morning for the UC Davis Children’s Hospital MaraFun Run in conjunction with the California International Marathon.   
  
I feel like the leaves should have changed colours back in October, right before Halloween and just in time for my birthday. Luckily there are other ways to celebrate fall.

  
Right before lunch this week, the girls noticed leaves falling from trees. We spent the next few minutes trying to catch them as they fell. Girls: 0. Mommy: 1.