Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Family Fun!

I'm always on the hunt for good family activities and this Friday we are pre-celebrating Halloween with the kiddies at Fremont's annual "Halloween on Safety Street." I was so impressed with the organization, hands-on-activities, and family-friendly atmosphere last year, we decided to buy our tickets early and go again this year.

This event caters specifically to younger aged kids (0-9). Tickets are $9 pre-sale for children age 0-9 and adults are free.

You can see last year's post about this event. Hope to see you there!

Here's the link to buy tickets and register early! FYI: All tickets sold out last year and there were no tickets available at the door.

As of the writing of this post on Tuesday 10/25/11, 11 am, there are exactly 28 tickets left! HURRRRRRYYYYYY!!!



Fremont's "Halloween on Safety Street" 2010 was a smashing success as all 350 tickets were pre-sold!

The event was well organized and extremely family friendly. (There was even Stroller Parking.)

Here are some pictures of the event:

"The Great Pumpkin Patch" where event goers got to take family photos

SF Bay Area pride was alive and well in the "SF Giants Corner"

"Where The Wild Things Are Rumpus Area"
for children to play. The huge mural in the background was
particularly impressive and was most likely created by a volunteer
Adults and children alike participated in arts & crafts
in this section of the hall
Another cool piece of artwork created by a volunteer


..and more

Eating area

Finally, Trick or Treating on Safety Street. Most "booths" were
sponsored by local businesses.

Pictorial list of activity rooms 1 of 2

Pictorial list of activity rooms 2 of 2

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A cold bottle

Growing up fat is not fun. I blame it on the fact that I was still on the bottle at age eight. REALLY. For some reason we didn't drink fresh milk in the Philippines and drank this powdered version that tasted like a smoothie. I WAS HOOKED. I firmly believe that my notorious sweet tooth stems from this. In the motherland, all middle class families had maids and nannies. My favorite thing to do when I came home from school was to ask for a "dudu" = a bottle! I liked it ice cold, kinda like a Frappucino but without the ice. LOL! HAHAHAHA!

Speaking of school, my fat years were emotionally painful for me *sad violin music playing in the background.* Seriously though, children who do not have the proper training at home can be vile and cruel little boogers. I don't really remember being bullied or teased but I remember not feeling wanted or included. I was so painfully shy and hyper-aware of being fat that I would ask April (my sister who is one year younger than me) to buy my lunch/snacks at school so people wouldn't see me near food.

What did I learn from being ostracized? I learned to appreciate people's inner beauty and gravitated toward those who possessed it. I also learned to never call people names like "stupid, fat, retarded." I learned how to be kind and empathetic, especially for the underdog.

Then we moved to the US of A, lost our accents ("dugu"), and the baby fat. Turns out that the milk they drank here was fresh and did not taste like a smoothie so I no longer wanted the bottle and lo and behold people wanted to be my friend because I finally "looked cool." I remember thinking "Wow. People are so shallow." But, I liked the feeling of being accepted for once, so I totally played the part and milked it :)

A part of me wanted to get rid of my fat past but the lessons I learned, early on, have shaped me. Without them, I might not have been so introspective. Without them I might have grown up to be substance-less and shallow. Over the years, I have learned to not only accept this part of me, but to embrace it.

We all have baggage. The first step is to become aware of it, make sense of it, then embrace it.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The good fight

Being a good mother I think comes naturally to most women...

Let's illustrate: losing sleep because the kiddies are sick, sure. Skipping out on indulging for yourself to give your children a good education, sure. Working long and hard both at work and at home, sure. But what about being a good wife? Does that come naturally to us? To that, I think not. Don't get me wrong, husbands also have duties to their wives but I think when wives become mothers, husbands can often times feel neglected and in extreme cases disrespected.

In today's modern world, our culture teaches us to have equality, women's rights etc. And all of that is definitely important but I think inside a home where a husband and wife dwell, there must be a balance. There must be a yin and yang...Being a strong-willed, head-strong woman like me, I have had a lot of issues in this department.

I am learning to "un-do" my years of conditioning that started very early in life. I was student body president in middle school, class president in high school, beta alpha psi/accounting association president in college, and now as an adult am actively managing several businesses. I am a boss..and you know what, I LIKE THAT. I'M USED TO THAT.

In a happy marriage though, wives need to know their place. And that is determined, whether you like it or not by your husband's expectations. At the same token, husbands need to know their place as well, and that is determined, whether they like it or not, by their wives. I think where we get into trouble is when expectations are not met and finger pointing and blaming enters the relationship. My mom and dad's marriage taught me that most things in a good relationship are fixable. Gerald also got the same message from his parents.

Being married is tough business and is not for the faint of heart. Submitting to your significant other to meet their needs, whatever they are, is not a show of weakness. It actually shows strength in character in that you made the correct decision in entrusting one person completely. And when they mess up, because they will, WE ALL DO; you build up the courage and do it all over again. (This is for relationships where two people have each others best interest at heart and are mutually invested and committed to each other.)

This cycle to me is "the good fight." You have to keep fighting the good fight..Slay your own demons, and you will be stronger. But slay your demons together and you will be unstoppable. I choose the later :)

To my married friends: we got this! *rock on because its worth it!*

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wise words

Have you ever heard or read the commencement speech the late Steve Jobs gave at Stanford on June 12, 2005? I'd never until a few minutes ago and I was absolutely mesmerized. To the point that I watched the video and read the transcript over at least a handful of times.

Steve Jobs' Commencement Speech

I was going to offer an analysis on his speech, reflect on my personal life experience, but then realized I will do that for myself later, when time permits.

For now, I will share my favorite quotations from this piece and hope you reflect on your own life and learn a thing or two from this truly brilliant man.

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference."

"You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

"If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

 "This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:  No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true."

---and most importantly---

"Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."