Our Santas’ House

We must have been so nice that this year our Santa Clauses decided that we personally pick our gifts from where it come from.

No reindeers here but fat cats and nosey dogs.

The table has been cleared and beers and gifts take over.

While this isn’t my first time to set foot in the US, this is the first time to be with Marcus and wifey and with our Santa Clauses. Needless to say, this is one unusual Christmas for the three of us and we couldn’t thank God enough for this opportunity and for surrounding us with people who support us: people who paid for this trip and even people back home who wished us well.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks!!!! (Our Garmin watches are waiting to be tested.)

 

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Christmas S_cks

Second to the last for this sock.

Depends on who you ask, the idea of Christmas could differ. For most kids, it’s all about Christmas socks. For most adults, it’s Christmas sucks and that is just sad. It is why it pays to be a kid or a kid at heart this holiday season. It’s about setting aside all that pride and prejudice that hinder the true spirit of Christmas. It’s about having that innocence, at least for the time being.

Christmas is the perfect time to once again believe in Santa because Santa does exist. Baloney? Grinch, eh? Hear this. You see kids do not have a strong grasp of the origin of Christmas yet and so it takes some creativity to enforce to them the reward system–what one gets when he’s naughty or nice. And this is when Santa Claus comes to the rescue. With his sleigh and reindeer. With Rudolph the red-nosed leader. Remember that even Jesus made use of parables to get his message across. To use therefore a fat bearded man in a red suit who tirelessly shouts ho, ho, ho isn’t really a bad thing. Given the right parenting and faith, kids will soon understand the real reason behind this season. For now let’s allow Santa Claus to fill those Christmas socks.

***

I have to stressed most kids in the statement. There are others out there with an empty Christmas socks as the least of their worries. Let’s spare a thought and a prayer for them.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (One more day and Marcus’ dream will come true.)

 

Our Healthy Christmas Tree

I like Christmas but I have been anti-Christmas tree. This year I survived another begging from wifey to buy one as, to reiterate same statement I say every year, I find it a waste of money and that I would feel guilty staring at a new Christmas tree when I could have used it  for charity or something more important.

I am no Grinch, however. (This is where I expect to see people, including wifey, raise their eyebrows.) I don’t sneak into Christmas trees and secretly breaks it. I am a kid at heart whenever I see the sight of Christmas trees at the malls and someone other houses. I am just not ready, nor could afford, to buy our own.

It does not mean though that I couldn’t or wouldn’t build one. In fact, wifey and I made one again. Thanks to the stash of empty Berocca–more than a year’s worth–canisters I kept up the ceiling a new Christmas tree is born. The past years we built one made of badminton shuttlecocks which we used for more than three Decembers.

I love Berocca that I find it hard to throw even the empty canisters.

We must always remember that Christmas will always be Christmas with or without a Christmas tree. There are always ways to feel the spirit of the yuletide season and the more we understand that it should come from within and shared with the others the better it will be.

Merry Christmas everyone!

It takes a glue stick, some creativity and a patient wifey.

***

Early this year I stopped using Berocca to try out two products being endorsed, forced may be appropriate, by wifey. Berocca was something hard to let go as I personally find it an effective supplement so I had hesitations welcoming Royale’s Spirulina and Performax into my routine. We even had to compare side by side the content of Berocca versus Spirulina and based on supplement facts Berocca wins. Anyway, to cut the story short, I gave Spirulina plus Performax a try and surprisingly I adapted to it. I use Performax when I go to the gym and I can attest to its potency. On top of my other routines I can now do two sets each of 50-lbs dumbbell flat and incline press. Placebo? Who cares.

 ***

It’s eight more days before our diet will be tested and fifteen more days before we realize our resolution to lose weight has failed.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (The gym has not replied, looks like they’re closed when signal # 2 typhoon strikes.)

Got Lego from Shell This Year?

Christmas 2015 is different for those who have been fans of Lego toys from Shell gas stations. Yes, that is because Lego broke its ties last year with the giant Shell Corp. after constant pressure from groups especially Greenpeace International against its Artic drilling activities. It was a big victory for the environment but at the same time a sad loss for us parents who get our chance to buy cheaper genuine Lego toys after filling up.

Legos block Shell’s Arctic drilling. (Image from The Guardian)

It’s not entirely true though for our son.

Well, naughty or nice, Marcus got one this December from Santa Claus. It’s from the Santa Claus who bought the stuffs last year and waited for the right moment when he runs out of idea on what to give next. And it happened.

Yesterday, Santa skipped our home, or didn’t get the opportunity to sneak his way to Marcus’ red sock, so this morning he makes up for it with an F12 Berlinetta.

A Lambo from Petron, a Ferrari from Shell.

I don’t know if Santa still has more left but I heard Mrs. Claus said there’s one more. Let’s see what Marcus gets in the next days.

***

There is good news. Shell Corp. eventually pulled out its Arctic drilling activities after realizing there is no long term potential in the area or probably after encountering radical Santa’s elves who got annoyed by the noise and threatened a lifetime of zero gifts for the sons and daughters of all Shell employees. Now we wonder if we will soon see the return of Lego-Shell partnership. Make the answer ‘yes’ please.

Legos from Shell in 2016?

Happening again in 2016?

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (The building game begins tomorrow. This isn’t Minecraft this time but it could like a villager’s house.)

More Than Just Two Front Teeth

The two front teeth had to go. At the age of seven, Marcus’ set of teeth had been all strong, almost perfect, with no sign of degrading until one day my wife found one new tooth coming out behind his upper front teeth. So yesterday, the two front milk teeth finally got extracted to let the new one take its normal place.

Just like his first trip to the same dentist, no tear whatsoever was shed on his first teeth extraction. Props to the pediatric dentist who took time to explain to Marcus on what to expect during the whole process—that’s on top of our similar discussion while on our way to the dentist’s clinic inside the SM mall. It would have been a better if his cashier gave us PWD discount.

Missing teeth, yes. Charm, no.

The experience was more awkward than painful for Marcus as he wouldn’t want to be seen toothless in school. The good news, or bad news, he won’t be inside a classroom together with his classmates anymore.

It was Monday, last week of October, when he asked us if he could stop going to school. We saw it coming as we observed lately that he finds it more difficult to wake up, let alone rise on his own but we decided to wait until he tells us about it because we can see back then that he still likes being in school despite his condition. While his request made it official that there will be no more sleepy trips to school, for both of us, his teacher and the school’s principal were kind enough to allow him continue studying at home if he wants to. Last week he took his last exam and said goodbye to his classmates. Most of them cried, yes, including the boys and his teachers.

Look ma, no hands! (He was Batman last Halloween but unfortunately we arrived late and did not catch the villains, I mean, his classmates.)

With the absence of worries about grades, something easily took over his study period. Minecraft. Other than his XBox, Marcus now has his Minecraft PC. This PC version of the sandbox game is actually a whole lot better than its XBox 360 counterpart as there are free maps and mods that can be downloaded and installed. Surprisingly, in a matter of weeks since I purchased this game as a reward for his good grades in school, he can already install the mods and maps by himself. He was quick to learn to remember and type the path AppData.minecraftsaves (and mods where he can extract his mods) to install his maps. Well, it lasted until he broke the HP laptop keyboard’s S key, and X, and A, and a couple of other frequently used game keys. So just like his two front teeth, he lost his HP laptop. The latter should teach him a lesson to control his emotions, to take good care of his prized–in this case, pricey–possessions.

To be honest, parenting Marcus is now tougher. A whole lot tougher, trust me. We figured that ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ approach is now out of the question. Disciplining him has to be done the other way and sometimes it gets frustrating. The heart and muscles of kids with DMD are sensitive and are degrading faster over time. This means that we are doing our best not to upset Marcus. We do our very best not to make him trip or fall, we don’t want him to stress nor hurt his muscles and even his heart and especially his emotions. So how do you parent a child with such condition, one whose body is frail but with a personality so strong? Sometimes I wish it’s the other way around.

If the tooth extraction went well, as if nothing happened, the recent blood extraction result was the complete opposite. While he seem able to take the pain of the pierce of a needle, we soon found out that Marcus’ dystrophin is leaking wildly relative to normal level, and it is worse than before. In April this year we were looking at 15,000 U/L and in October it has elevated to 30,000 U/L. The normal level is 150-150 units per liter (U/L). It’s that bad and the current dosage of CoQ10 and Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements seem to be of no help. If only there’s a way to patch up this one. This Christmas we all want more than just his two front teeth.

***

We just learned that our version of Mrs. Wilson is sick and in the hospital. Get well soon, from Marcus a.k.a your Dennis The Menace.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (I don’t know if I should be happy to once again skip the opportunity to watch this Everyday I love You movie with wifey.)

Here Comes Frosty the Snowman

 

Image by downtowncovington.org

Everyone could already smell the yuletide season. It is almost here. Well, at least for most Filipinos who start to feel Christmassy as soon as we flip our calendars to the first ‘ber’ page of its year. Yes, it’s as if  September is just a blink away from the time we celebrated the New Year’s Eve. Time does fly. But this year I bet that Marcus and I were ahead of everyone else.

By the early days of August our car’s CD player has been on repeat mode. Marcus’ latest discovery was the repeat track menu. I had to reveal it to him after I got tired of pushing the back button to play Bebot over and over again for him as for some reason he became a sudden fan of Apl.de.ap which makes me wonder if his seemingly serious resentment of the Chinese activity in the West Philippine Sea influenced him–surprising for someone his age. Things changed though when he brought back home the BEP CD so that he can play it on our audio player. Since then the next most-abused disc is the one by Alvin, Theodore, and Simon. Yup, you got it, it’s the Chipmunks and their Christmas song album. The unmistakable voices of Alvin and the Chipmunks played in our car—in the middle of August, every day, every trip to school, every time he gets to be in the front passenger seat. And among the Chipmunks songs, Frosty the Snowman became his favorite driving song.

I have tried but my negotiation skills were of no use and so to join the band, so to speak, I would sing the the song while driving–my attempt to annoy him. So far Frosty  the Snowman continues, either I can now sing like a Chipmunk or he just opts to ignore my strategy. Chances are, it is the latter.  To concede, and to share my last song syndrome, let me share the song’s lyrics (thanks to Metrolyrics.com).

Hey, fellas
Why don’t you tell the kids about your ice cold friend?
Alright

Frosty the Snowman
Was a jolly happy soul
With a corncob pipe
And a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal

Frosty the Snowman
Is a fairytale they say
He was made of snow
But the children know
How he came to life one day

There must have been some magic
In that old silk hat they found
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around

Ohh, Frosty the Snowman
Was alive as he could be
And the children say
He could laugh and play
Just the same as you and me

Frosty the Snowman
Knew the sun was hot that day
So he said, “Let’s run
And we’ll have some fun
Now before I melt away”

Down to the village
With a broomstick in his hand
Running here and there
All around the square
Saying, “Catch me if you can”

He led them down the streets of town
Right to the traffic cop
And he only paused a moment when
He heard him holler, “Stop”

Oh, Frosty the Snowman
Had to hurry on his way
But he waved goodbye
Saying, “Don’t you cry
I’ll be back again some day”

Thumpety, thump, thump
Thumpety, thump, thump
Look at Frosty go…”

Frosty the Snowman ends with “And he waved goodbye, saying, “Don’t you cry I’ll be back again some day” but thanks—or no thanks—to the stereo’s repeat track feature, Frosty returns faster than we realize that it is September all over again.

***

There’s another thing that makes us one more step ahead of the others—our Christmas lantern. Kudos to procrastination, our lantern and the Christmas bulbs we placed outside our house are still out there since last year. I really can’t wait for September to start so that we won’t be getting weird stares from our neighbors unlike when we accidentally hit the lantern’s switch in the middle of March.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks (They should have shown Pixels in Christmas.)

It’s Christmas Time (Again)

MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!

Creative Commons Flickr image from Rejik.

The most awaited start of the ‘ber’ months is here. It is the time when us Filipinos begin to feel the spirit of Christmas. Like today while waiting for Marcus to finish his class I heard on the radio Band Aid’s It’s Christmas Time. What’s more, the station will now play one Christmas song every hour until December.

It is also to be expected that any time soon people will see malls with Christmas decorations and yuletide tunes playing in the background and in effect, like a subliminal message, entice more people to spend and splurge.

But one doesn’t need money to enjoy what we claim as the longest Christmas season. In the name of tourism–local and foreign, spectacular giant Christmas trees and sparkling lights are expected to illuminate streets of major cities and business centers–Makati commercial business district, Rockwell,  and Nuvali are places to be. Petron gas stations have likewise held their annual Christmas decoration contest which I hope they continue this year.

A better way of course to feel the real spirit of Christmas is to start as early as now to realize the true reason of this celebration. Admittedly, however, in the midst of strong influence of commercialism, to see Christ in the middle of it all is a big challenge. For most of us, we get lost when we have the material things that give us that Christmassy feeling. It therefore helps to reflect regularly each day and recognize that there is deeper reason behind all these. God bless everyone, it’s Christmas time.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Labor day in the US.)