This nursy plays dirty and does it with pain...

Friday, December 28, 2007

December 28 is the 362nd day of the year (363rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 3 days remaining until the end of the year. This is the date I was born, many moons ago. I am one of the two daughters, second to the oldest of four siblings.
In the Philippines this day is called as NiƱos Inocentes. It is commemorated on December 28 as Holy Innocents' Day or Childermas in other countries. The innocents referred to are the children who were massacred by order of Herod who was seeking the death of the newborn Messiah. In the Philippines, Spain and Latin American countries the festival is celebrated in a manner similar to April Fool's Day.
... so now you know why I am innocent... hehehe!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas in the Philippines as I remember it

I don't know how many times in the past I have blurted out about my strange (or maybe not) feeling towards the holiday season. I have been living here in America much longer than I did back home, the Philippines. As Christmas season approaches I get progressively home sick, so badly sometimes that I almost go into depression... go figure!!! I don't think I have any reason. I have my entire immediate family here with me in the US. We, in fact almost always have had great Holiday celebrations.

Is it my inner self that tells me each year to look back at my past when scarcity was it, so that I can stay grounded and thankful for what I have now in my life??? Is it my longing to the nostalgia of my youth when life was not too complicated??? I can't tell you for sure.

I know that Philippines has very long Christmas celebration. The predominant religion is Catholicism, thus the activities are influenced by that. WIKIPEDIA described Christmas season in the Philippines so accurately and how I remembered it...
Misa de Gallo (Dec. 16-24) Traditionally, Christmas Day in the Philippines is ushered in by the nine-day dawn masses that start on December 16. Known as the Misa de Gallo (Rooster's Mass) in the traditional Spanish, and these masses are also more popularly known in Filipino as Simbang Gabi, or "Night Mass". The Simbang Gabi is the most important Filipino Christmas tradition.

These nine dawn Masses are also considered as a Novena by the Catholic and Aglipayan faithfuls. This refers to the Roman Catholic and Aglipayan practice of performing nine days of private or public devotion to obtain special graces. In some parishes, the Simbang gabi begins as early as four in the morning. Going to mass this early for nine consecutive days is meant to show the churchgoer's devotion to his faith and heighten anticipation for the Nativity of the Lord. In traditional Filipino belief, however, completing the novena is also supposed to mean that God would grant the devotee's special wish or favor.

After hearing Mass, Filipino families partake of traditional Philippine Christmas delicacies, either during breakfast at home or immediately outside the church, where they are sold. Vendors offer a wealth of native delicacies, including bibingka (rice flour and egg based cake, cooked using coals on top and under), puto bumbong (a purple sticky rice delicacy which is steamed in bamboo tubes, with brown sugar and coconut shavings as condiments), salabat (hot ginger tea) and tsokolate (thick Spanish cocoa).
Christmas Eve For Filipinos, Christmas Eve on ("Bisperas ng Pasko") December 24 is the much-anticipated Noche Buena -- the traditional Christmas Eve feast after the midnight mass. Family members dine together around 12 midnight on traditional Noche Buena fare, which includes: queso de bola (Span. literally "ball of cheese"; edam cheese), "Tsokolate" (hot chocolate drink) and hamon (Christmas ham), and some would open presents at this time.
In different provinces and schools throughout the Philippines, Catholic devotees also reenact the journey of Joseph and the pregnant Blessed Virgin Mary in search of lodging for the soon-to-be born Jesus Christ. This is the traditional Panunuluyan, also called Pananawagan and Pananapatan.
This street pageant is performed after dark on Christmas Eve, with the actors portraying Joseph and Mary going to pre-designated houses. They chant wika wika bang bang, a traditional folksong that is meant to wake up the owner of the house as the actors ask for lodging. But the couple (actors) are turned away by the owners, also through a song. Finally, Joseph and Mary make their way to the parish church where a simulated manger has been set up. The birth of Jesus is celebrated at midnight with the Misa de Gallo, together with hallelujahs and Christmas carols. Everybody celebrates this tradition happily yet solemnly.

Christmas Day in The Philippines is primarily a family affair. Prior to the ticking of 12 midnight on 25 December, Misa de Aguinaldo is being celebrated. It is usually attended by the whole family. Misa de Aguinaldo is the Holy Mass celebrated to signify the Birth of Jesus Christ, the Roman Catholic Church and Philippine Independent Church (Aglipayan) in the Philippines' main means of celebrating Jesus Christ's birth.
Misa de Aguinaldo is also celebrated at dawn or in the morning immediately after sunrise before 10 AM, this schedule is preferred by Filipinos who choose to celebrate Christmas Eve with a night-long celebration of Noche Buena.

Preferably in the morning, Filipino families visit members of the extended family, notably the elders in order to pay their respect. This custom has been an age-old tradition in the Philippines called Pagmamano, this is done by touching one's forehead to the elder's hand saying Mano Po. The elder then blesses the person who paid respect. Aguinaldo or money in the form of crisp, fresh-from-the-bank bills is given after the Pagmamano, most usually to younger children.
A Christmas Lunch usually follows after the Pagmamano. The lunch is heavily dependent upon the finances of the family. Rich families tend to prepare grand and glorious feasts that consist of Jamon de Bola, Queso de Bola, Lechon and other Filipino delicacies. Some poor families choose to cook simple meals, nevertheless still special. When the family is settled after the lunch, the exchange of gifts is usually done. Godparents are expected to give gifts or Aguinaldo to their godchildren.

When nigh time falls, members of the family usually take part in family talks while listening to favorite Christmas carols. Some may opt to have a glorious Christmas feast for dinner.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Accidental ... whiplash!!!

October 30,2007 ... the great 2 days spent with my mother ended in a not so great note ... my back tire on the driver side blew that caused an accident. The tires were not old at all and the SUV - 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport ES just went through an overall check-up. It was around 3 PM, rush hour so the traffic was about the speed limit of 65 mph and there was a Sheriff car behind me so I was "behaving".

After hearing a big exploding noise, this SUV went out of control and swerved to the right to which I hit the middle part of a big semi truck. So then I attempted to correct it while it was shaking like jello. Luckily it followed my guidance to the left side of the road which was the median island. I put on the brake and checked on my mother then myself. I then attempted to get out to check on the damage(s) but could not open my door. The Sheriff behind me stopped alongside my vehicle and pried open my door so that I can get out.

An ambulance and a CalTran worker were around the area so they stopped and asked if they can help in anyway. I informed them that I was a trauma nursy and that my assessment told me that my mother and I were "okay".

The SUV was crunched up in the front and on the back passenger part. All fluids leaked out and the trunk door was ajar and I couldn't close it all the way. So we waited for the CHP (California Highway Patrol) for official report, tow truck and a phone call from my sweet car insurance guy.

We got towed and took the taxi back home from the tow park at the outskirt of the city I live in.

The following days were going for medical assessments and dealing with insurance procedures.

The verdict after 16 days... SUV was officially declared ... not financially reasonable to be restored. Another 4 days and I was told how much I would get for my totalled vehicle. I came ahead by 4 thousands...

So then the shopping for the replacement ensued. And here it is...

2004 Land Rover, Freelander. A certified pre-owned vehicle with free maintenance until 2012. All I have to do is drive it to any dealership and it will be maintained or fixed. It had only 36,000 miles on it and looks pretty brand new. It was used as the dealership vehicle. And it is all paid for. No car payment... the best feature. I could have bought a brand new car but did not want to deal with car payment which I haven't had in many years. The features I like about my new vehicle... the seat warmer and heated windows.

Friendship Award - bestowed by Nursy Fe

I decided to follow this meme from Nursy Fe's blogspot

She is always so generous of thinking of me. Thank you so much!!!

"And The First Class Friendship Award, I’m giving to:
NursyE - a very unselfish friend. She’s one of a kind. We met through a message board long time ago."

MOM (Mother of 2 Munchkins) aka Nursy Fe and I met in a message board turned war zone. Actually it was her darling future husband-to-be that was the co-member and eventually they were entwined and she took over as the active member. She and hubby now blessed with 2 gorgeous children... my cyberniece and cybernephew.
We then moved to another message board that was built by another sweet friend.
Nursy Fe was one Filipina that does not have any problems tackling life changes. She had more than enough education from back home and yet did not have any egotistical qualm about returning back to school for a career that she thinks will give her better "future"... nursing. I can bet to the fact that she indeed made a great decision...
Going to school, being a mother, a wife, a worker... sounds like a familiar story!!!
With that comment, I am bestowing this same award back to the generous giver... Nursy Fe. You indeed deserve this award more than once, twice and many more times over...

City slicker

Three days after Thanksgiving, very early in the morning, I was doing my usual routine of letting my 2 four-legged children out to do their business outside. Zipper was by the door when I opened my bedroom door to let them back in. It was so unusual not to have Duke with Zipper so I called out his name. No answer. I did it 2-3 more times but no Duke - very unusual. So I donned a robe and went out to see what was causing the mischievous Duke to stay outside. I couldn't find him anywhere everywhere the backyard so I started to get very concerned until I heard some rustling by my garden closeby the gazebo. As I was approaching closer, I can see Duke behind the plant looking up the fence. I looked at where he had his focus on and saw this...

I was surprised to see this early fence visitor. I live in a city. I don't see these creatures around here. It was a big surprise.

And it was just sitting there while Duke was so enthralled!!!

Well, he wanted to get hold of it so badly...

My hunky friend, K, had 6 of these on his porch one morning he said. This is his comment... "They come out at night or early morning.... hide in your trees, bushes. dogs and cats fight them... they have fifty-five teeth.but are harmless. they just look funny... they are more afraid of you. that is why they just stand there a stare at you."

Duke... meet Opossum!!!