Moving past…

I would like to take this time to greet everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Yaay!

It has been a while since I last posted in this blog and it is primarily because of a commitment I made that I will not post again until I have “myowndomain.com” site. The commitment was made because I was coerced to believe that having my own site was as easy as clicking the mouse, drag and drop something here and there but as you might have guessed it takes more than that. Aside from that there is also the issue of choosing between continuing with a site themed exactly as this one or starting a rather different kind of website. Anyway I think I have moved past all these stuffs and soon I will have my site up and running. 

At the moment I am busy with some research and learning certain skills needed to set-up and maintain my own domain. Ultimately I am happy with what I have been up to recently and I will be moving to another domain in the next few months. Most of my posts here will be transferred but I will provide links pointing to the new site.

Wish me luck!

 

Dadispen

Super Moms

SuperMoms

“Honor your … mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), (3) “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (Eph. 6:2-3)

Mother's Day

My Supermoms (credits to Lalooshes)

What would be more apt on this special day than to write a post that honors the women who in many ways have shaped me to what I have become today? Besides, I do not want to miss out on the blessings that come with it nor be cursed for not giving the honor due them! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

Supermom #1…

She is our granny but we fondly call her “Nanang” meaning mother. A very strong woman who raised chicken, goats, pigs, and pesky little humans. From her came lessons of frugality (by serving inexpensive meals though she can afford a lot better :D), responsibility (I got bouts of beating for not doing my assigned chores to the dot) and farming (how to thwart a brooding hen was one of the basics). Now she’s old and can barely scare the ducks away from the porch but still graces our trips to the beach with her old-redundant-rhetorics which I find rather amusing!

Supermom #2…

What would this post be if this woman is not part of it? My mother is a living and breathing Superwoman minus the cape and mask (Would love to see her wear such).  She is a package large enough to not fit in a house no matter the size. A wife, mother, father, cook, laundry woman, gardener, electrician, carpenter, Teacher, Researcher, Author, Editor, Agriculturist, School Administrator and a whole bunch of other things. Much of the strengths I have were forged by her. Should she be the benchmark, I’d say she did a lousy job 😀

Supermom #3

She is the most special person in this post – the mother of my kid (and a half) and the love of my life…she inspires me in my endeavors but keeps me grounded at the same time. She loves me and my son that in itself makes her Super!

Supermom #4, #5, #6…

They are works in progress (aren’t we all?) but are doing great!

#4 is a mother of 2 girls who are growing with great promise and beauty!

#5 is a mother of smart little girl who could outclass “Dora the Explorer”.

#6 has a 3-year old son possessing the discipline expected of a 10 year-old in the dining table.

Supermom #7…

This young lady is technically not a mom but has as much if not more experience than #3 to #6. Much of the mothering those kids above received was from her. Her greatest achievement so far is making my son love her so much that he wants to marry her!

Oh I almost forgot, to those who would raise their brows and believe mothers are not that important perhaps reading my previous post here would help you think otherwise.

Tiny Slippers

Dear Jacob,

I have already lost count of the number of times we have been away from each other. It is inevitable, given your Mom’s current condition or at least I like to think of it that way. I expected that it is not going to get this tough not having you and your mom around having been through it countless times but I was wrong. I have no problem taking care of the basic things like laundry, cleaning of the room and preparing my own meals but the silence is beyond bearable.

I arrived in our house at around 3 AM on Sunday excited of the freedom that I am going to have while you are away. I practically leaped to the bed upon reaching our room and I am sure there was this devious grin on my lips. Don’t get me wrong. It is not that your presence is unwanted, I love having you around and totally enjoy the days we spend together just you and I. However, adults sometimes need time to be alone, and quiet to do what they have to do and put their lives into perspective. I was about to raise my hands in celebration of the many quiet hours ahead when my eyes froze on those tiny slippers at the base of the cupboard that seem to be waiting for your wiggly feet. My moment of joy was cut short by the underlying implication of not having you around which my conscious brain keeps pushing back. I will miss a lot of things most of all your stories, unending questions of why things are like this or that and our Father and son escapes.

Those tiny slippers had their way in me. They seem to be staring back with questioning eyes…where are those wiggly little feet? It’s been a while why haven’t they come to take us for a walk?

It is going to be a week since I left and many times I have been tempted to pick-up those tiny slippers and hide them away in the store-room but I have chosen not to. I want them to be where I can see them as a reminder that I have to make wise decisions so in the future we will not have to be separated again.

I am having a hard time coping up for now but I will be fine…more or less.

Love,

Dad

Short-lived Moments

He's brushing his teeth by himself for the first time!!!!

those moments will come to pass and that annoying as they might be, I have to learn to enjoy them

It takes a lot of patience to raise a kid. I don’t know about you but most of the time my patience runs out when my son does his rather annoying stints. However, I know that soon those moments will come to pass and that annoying as they might be, I have to learn to enjoy them because once my kid grows older, I would have to kiss those times goodbye!

A few evenings ago my wife asked me to tuck my son to bed – that means wash him up, brush his teeth and get him into his pajamas. My son upon hearing this protested, “No I will do it by myself”. We replied excitedly, “Really? Go ahead then” without the intention of really allowing him to do those things by himself. And so he did and continued doing ’til now under my strict supervision. Times like that bring out the proud father in me – well who wouldn’t? Nevertheless I have to come to the realization that my son is growing up and soon I will have to give him over to his independence. Soon providing his needs would be as far as my fathering would go barring circumstances where I would have to intervene or advocate in his behalf. Soon he will be ready to take off and take life head on. Yes soon….

In the meantime we still have memories to build and Father and son escapes to do!

Of Ipods and Steve Jobs

US has lost the only person who knows what he is doing” – Barack Obama

The world currently mourns the loss of a tech Titan who they say has pushed humanity to the next level. I am not an Apple enthusiast myself (an iPod nano is the only Apple product I actually own) and know very little about this man but the entire World Wide Web has just gotten crazy over his death and all I can see even at the Freshly Pressed articles are his pictures and stories of him.

So my curiosity got me digging through his life wondering what is with this man that even The US President Barack Obama would be quoted saying that the US has lost the only person who knows what he is doing? Eventually I found myself admiring this man – his ability to execute whatever he thinks!

As I browsed through the net I came across this letter addressed to Steve Jobs coming from a mother of an autistic kid (http://www.adiaryofamom.wordpress.com). Read through and see for yourself how a product as humble as the iPod could impact lives.

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Dear Mr Jobs, (Steve Jobs that is, as if you didn’t know)

My name is Jess and I have something that I’ve been wanting to tell you for a while now.

I think I love you.

Now, I know you probably get a lot of this – crazed fans writing in to tell you that you’ve altered the world through technology. I can’t argue with them. What you have done to shove us all headlong into the information age has been nothing short of revolutionary. Your leadership and innovation have changed the way we view – well, just about everything we do. Guttenberg had nothing on you, sir.

Oh, and taking just $1 in yearly compensation EVERY YEAR since your return to the company in ’97? Classy move, my friend. Classy move. And handing well over 3,000 percent return to investors during your tenure without selling a share of stock? Be still my heart.

You’re my husband’s hero. As such, you’d think this letter would have come from him. He’s Mac-obsessed. If it has a little ‘i’ in front of it he either has it, wants it, or is waiting for the next generation of it. I’ve caught him caressing his iPhone when he thinks no one’s looking. OK, I made that up – but Steve – is it OK if I call you Steve? I mean, it just kind of seems right to call a guy in a turtle-neck and jeans Steve – it wouldn’t be far-fetched. Hell, the guy gets MacWorld Magazine. And READS it. Not for nothing, but you know you’ve made it when there’s a MAGAZINE dedicated to your products. I mean seriously, that’s cool.

But, Steve, much as I like the MacBook that I’m typing on right now, as happy as I am with my iPhone and as much as I love browsing through iTunes for music, there’s one thing and one thing alone that sets my heart a-flutter for you.

You, sir have given my daughter freedom.

You see Steve, my daughter has autism. And for her, the world can get pretty damned overwhelming. For a long time, my girl couldn’t really go anywhere comfortably – certainly not to a restaurant. It was hard, Steve. Sometimes it was really hard.

But last night, we went to our local sushi joint for dinner with friends. We were later than we’d hoped to be and the place was pretty full. Full means loud, Steve. And loud can mean disaster. But we didn’t have to leave. Not once. Nope, my girl sat at the table with everyone else and ate her dinner.

Because now – thanks to you, she has a powerful tool to mitigate the madness. When it gets to be too much, she can reach into her dad’s pocket and say, “I will listen to my music now.” No matter where we are, she can slip on her headphones, plug into her iPod and retreat into a world that’s much more inviting and hospitable than the one around her. The nerve-wracking clang and clatter of her surroundings melts away into Godspell, Dora the Explorer , JoJo and The Beatles.

She’s even (mostly) learned not to sing along in public. Trust me, Steve, that’s bigger than you think.

And so, I wanted you to know that you have one more thing to add to your already mind-boggling resume. Pixar may have changed special effects for all time. Wonderful – I like a good flick as much as the next girl. The iMac no doubt dramatically altered home computing. My home movies thank you. And the iPhone certainly radically shifted the face of mobility. All great.

But it was a tiny green iPod that unlocked the world for one little girl.

And her mama is forever in your debt.

Keep up the good work, Steve.

Warmly,

.

Jess

8 POSTS LATER (milestone 1 of daddy’s pen)

Have you ever wondered how many times I tried to become a blogger? Let me recall..

There was the friendster-linked blog which was my very first. T’was not successful maybe because I was too proud to learn. I was able to write several posts and received several comments but in the end abandoned it. My purpose for blogging perhaps was not clear at that time it was just to test my writing skill which turned out to be less than interesting.

A few years later I started a new one think-n-tinker.blogspot.com. Wrote a few posts and got one subscriber!!! Actually I coerced her to subscribe and she had to give in because she is a good sibling hehe…thanks Lala! A month later, I forgot the password and did not bother retrieving it. Expert bloggers would definitely say that my choice of site-name was very poor. It sounds good but too many people are using it. Try to google it and you will get tired scrolling through the search results but you still won’t find it.

Thirdly, I started private panorama here in wordpress but abandoned it after writing the about page…don’t ask me why!

Finally daddy’s pen came to life!  It was conceived with the main purpose of sharing the fun time I spend with my family especially with my son. I enjoy writing about those moments and I could say I will be here for quite a while!

Today I would like to share with you my joy as I celebrate. After eight posts, this blog achieved its first milestone…getting 1000 visits! It may not be much for the better bloggers but it is a big thing for me. I have no formal internet training, no HTML knowledge and zero SEO knowledge when I started this blog. Eight posts later…I have learned a few tricks of driving a handful of internet traffic to this site (I still have much to learn!). Eight posts later…I am more inspired to write. Eight posts later…I am more excited about my next bonding time with my family. Eight posts later…Eight posts later…I have all of you to thank for visiting my site and putting up with my rants and raves! Thank God for all of you!

Jacob’s Glossary of Terms

Often it is a wonder how parents can understand kids who seemingly speak a totally different language or a tweak of the original mother tongue. Let me share some of my son’s personal slang!

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 Igannnyan mo – this word is used to denote anything he would like you to do and is always paired with a demonstration of all sort and a tantrum if you don’t get it the first time. (Standard meaning – do it this way)

Ex. Igannnyan mo nga this one. Nooooooo! Like this o…Igannnnnyannn mo!       Waaaaaaah… Need I say more?

Kanina – Anytime in the past (Standard meaning – a while ago)

Ex. Just like kanina sa house natin na may stairs. (“Just like a while ago in our       house which has stairs”. There is actually nothing wrong with it except that we stayed in that house 2 years ago!)

Kutsilya –  A tool used to slice food. (Standard meaning – knife)

Ex. Daddy wala akong kutsilya pa’no ako mag-eat? (“Daddy I don’t have a knife       how am I going to eat?”. We were eating noodles!)

Favorite ko ito – any delectable cuisine usually eaten in a cozy restaurant most of the time is fish and chips with lots and lots of sour cream eaten with a Kutsilya. (Standard Meaning: This is my favorite). The same food served at home or served without a Kutsilya does not qualify.

Ex. Jacob in Fish & Co. holding a Kutsilya:  Hmmm favorite ko ito!

Jacob in Jack’s Place holding a Kutsilya: Wooow….favorite ko ito!

Jacob in a hawker centre served with fish n chips without a Kutsilya:                                    Ano ito???? (What the heck is this???)

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I always thought kids are witty in their own ways. They say things which take you aback, amaze you with their logic or utterly slam your attitude right into your face. I bet your kids have their personal slangs too!

Touristy Park – Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden

I was scheduled to work nightshift overtime but my boss called me to work the following day instead. It was already late in the afternoon, a very tempting time to just sit down and splurge into facebook but I have promised to bring my son out. So I hurriedly geared him up with one word in mind – “International”.

There is this place I went with him before where kids of all sorts of skin colour flock in, that is Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. I thought this place would be perfect for the few hours we have to spend outdoors. We took a train to Orchard area then boarded a bus to Singapore Botanic Gardens. It was too late when I realized that Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is located at the Bukit Timah side which is exactly the opposite of where we dropped off – What was I thinking???? I was tempted to hail a Cab to take us there but it would defeat the value on which this “escape of father and son” was built – have fun and do it cheaply! So we trekked through the lush greenery stopping from time to time to enjoy some of the attractions Singapore Botanic Gardens has to offer.  It was worth my walk and my son’s ride on my shoulders. Whewww!

On the Way to Jacob Ballas Children's Garden

On the way to Jacob Ballas Children's Garden

The 20 – minute hike seemed endless and I was getting tired. Just when I was about to grumble and ask my son to get-off my back I saw this sign which got my adrenaline flowing!

Just a few minutes more!!

With just a couple of minutes more we finally reached the destination. Along the way my son was complaining that he was very hungry and that his stomach was “growling like a monster”. There’s a small canteen at the entrance of the garden and just when I was about to order food my son was pulling on my shirt excited to go inside the garden and eat later! “What about the monster growling in your stomach?” I asked. He just answered with a brief “Let’s go”. So that was just what we did!

Inside the garden was already bustling with children playing rough-wet-wild-and-dirty of course my son immediately joined the chaos! There are plenty of things to do in the garden but he likes to do 2 things only…play in the sand box and get wet in the fountain!

A Sand Box full of fun!!!

Wet-Wild-and-Dirty! Picture frenzy for the Blogger Moms.

So if you are like me who is financially constrained to be able to bring his son to international school and yet would like to expose your kid to international culture, Jacob Ballas children’s garden is for you :P. Guess I sound Kiasu there huh! In fact after playing at the fountain with all those western kids hearing their western-English-twang my son approached me saying “Deydi! Eyts quite Cawld in heyr”! So I rest my case. More photos in FaceBook

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is open daily from 8am to 7PM except on Mondays and could be reached by bus SBS Bus No. 48, 66, 151, 153, 154, 156, 170, 186 and SMRT Bus No. 67, 171. Alight along Bukit Timah Road, NUS Bukit Timah Campus bus stop. It is open to children up to 12 years old who MUST be accompanied by an adult and admission is FREE. Food is not a problem since they have a canteen which offers great western comfort food. For more info check out their site at http://www.sbg.org.sg/bukittimahcore/ChildrenGarden.asp.

A Family (minus the mom) – an article worth sharing!

I came across this article about a year ago and until now it still pumps those tears out of me. Surely, my life would be wrecked should my wife leave me behind…broken-hearted for a lost love, overwhelmed with another shoe to fill. Like the author I will not know where to start as well. There may be flaws in the way the article was written but what the heck the emotion carried by each word covers everything! 

The irreplaceable 

4 years ago, an accident took my beloved away and very often I wonder, how does my wife, who is now in the heavenly realm, feel right now? She must be feeling extremely sad for leaving a husband who is incapable of taking care of the house and the kid. ‘cos that is the exact feeling that I have, as I feel that I have failed to provide for the physical and emotional needs of my child, and failed to be the dad and mom for my child.

There was one particular day, when I had an emergency at work. Hence, I had to leave home whilst my child was still sleeping. So thinking that there was still rice leftovers, I hastily cooked an egg and left after informing my sleepy child. With the double role, I am often exhausted at work as well as when I am home. So after a long day, I came home, totally drained of all energy. So with just a brief hug and kiss for my child, I went straight into the room, skipping dinner. However, when I jumped into my bed with intention of just having a well-deserved sleep, all i heard and felt was broken porcelain and warm liquid! I flipped open my blanket, and there lies the source of the ‘problem’… a broken bowl with instant noodles and a mess on the bed sheet and blanket! Boy, was I mad! I was so furious that I took a clothes hanger, charged straight at my child who was happily playing with his toy, and give him a good spanking! He merely cried but not asking for mercy, except a short explanation:
        “Dad, I was hungry and there wasn’t anymore leftover rice. But you were not back yet, hence I wanted to cook some instant noodles. But I remembered you reminding me not to touch or use the gas stove without any adults around, hence I turned on the shower and used the hot water from the bathroom to cook the noodles. One is for you and the other is for me. However, I was afraid that the noodles will turn cold, so I hid it under the blanket to keep it warm till you return. But I forgot to remind you ‘cos I was playing with my toys…I am sorry Dad…”

At that moment, tears were starting to run down my cheeks…but I didn’t want my son to see his dad crying so I dashed into the bathroom and cried with the shower head on to mask my cries. After that episode, I went towards my son to give him a tight hug and applied medication on him, while coaxing him to sleep. Then, it was time to clear up the mess on the bed. When everything was done and well past midnight, I passed by my son’s room, and saw that he was still crying, not from the pain on his little buttock, but from looking at the photograph of his beloved mommy. However, not so long ago, I hit my boy again, with much regret. This time, is kindergarten teacher called, informing me of my son’s absence from school. I took off early from work and went home, expecting him to explain. But he wasn’t to be found, so I went around our house, calling out his name and eventually found him outside a stationery shop, happily playing computer games. I was fuming, brought him home and whacked the hell out of him. He did not retaliate, except to say, ‘I am sorry, Dad’. But after much probing, I realized that it was a ‘Talent Show’ organized by his school and the invitation was for every student’s mommy. And that was the reason for his absence as he has no mommy…..

 Few days after the caning, my son came home to tell me, the kindergarten has recently taught him how to read and write. Since then, he has kept to himself and stayed in his room to practise his writing, which I am sure, would make my wife proud, if she was still around. ‘cos he makes me proud too!

Time passed by very quickly, and soon another year has passed. It’s winter, and its Christmas time. Everywhere the christmas spirit is in every passer-by…Christmas carols and frantic shoppers….but alas, my son got into another trouble. When I was about to knock off from the day’s work, the post office called. Due to the peak season, the post master was also on an edgy mood. He called to tell me that my son has attempted to post several letters with no addressee. Although I did make a promise never to hit my son again, I couldn’t help but to hit him as I feel that this child of mine is really beyond control. Once again, as before, he apologized, ‘ I’m sorry, Dad’ and no additional reason to explain. I pushed him towards a corner, went to the post office to collect the letters with no addressee and came home, and angrily questioned my son on his prank, during this time of the year.

His answer, amidst his sobbing, was : The letters were for Mommy. My eyes grew teary, but I tried to control my emotions and continued to ask him: ” But why did u post so many letters, at one time?” My son’s reply was: ” I have been writing to mommy for a long time, but each time I reached out for the post box, it was too high for me, hence I was not able to post the letters. But recently, when I went back to the post box, I could reach it and I dropped the letters all at once…” After hearing this, I was lost. Lost at not knowing what to do nor what to say…. I told him, ” Son, mommy is in the heavenly kingdom, so in future, if you have anything to tell her, just burn the letter and it will reach mommy. My son, on hearing this, was much pacified and calmed, and soon after, he was sleeping soundly. On promising that I will burn the letters on his behalf, I brought the letters outside, but couldn’t help opening the letter before they turn to ash. And one of the letters broke my heart….

Dear Mommy, 

I miss you so much! Today, there was a ‘Talent Show’ in school, and the school invited all mothers for the show. But you are not around, so I did not want to participate as well. I did not tell Dad about it as I was afraid that Dad would start to cry and miss you all over again. Dad went around looking for me, but in order to hide my sadness, I sat in front of the computer and started playing games at one of the shops. Dad was furious, and he couldn’t help it but scolded and hit me, but I did not tell him the real reason. Mommy, everyday I see Dad missing you and whenever he thinks of you, he is so sad and often hide and cry in his room. I think we both miss you very very much. Too much for our own good I think. But Mommy, I am starting to forget your face. Can you please appear in my dreams so that I can see your face and remember you? I heard that if you fall asleep with the photograph of the person whom you miss, you will see the person in your dreams. But mommy, why haven’t you appear?

After reading the letter, I can’t stop sobbing. ‘cos I can never replace the irreplaceable gap left behind by my wife….

Harmoni One Hotel and Service Apartments

  Photo From their Website

Last month I went to Batam, Indonesia  with my family for our first ever family out of town together. We had a 2D1N stay in Harmoni One (Hotel and Service Apartments). Though our stay was brief to give a comprehensive review, I will still spill out my mind. After all, first impression lasts they say.

The Plus   

  • The place is elegantly designed inside out and “elegant”, I believe is the perfect adjective for Harmoni one Hotel and Service Apartments. The swimming pool area makes you feel like you are not in Indonesia but somewhere in the mid-east or Europe maybe.
  • They have very friendly and polite crew which is what guests always want.
  • Very efficient service. Check-in and check-out was brief!
  • Really Cosy place! With a lot of rooms to cater for functions or seminars.
  • Great value for money! A 4-star hotel of this calibre is expected to charge more.
Photo From their Website

The Minus

  • Tobacco Stench everywhere including their restaurants! This decreases the relaxing factor because at times and at certain areas it is difficult to breath. When we entered our room which looked freshly done, still the smell of burned tobacco was there. This is one huge smoking area!
  • I love their crew and I saw how hard they worked but during the wee hours they were still noisily carrying out their work. I heard shouts and bangs even at dawn.
  • The food! A place as elegant as this should have a matching delectable cuisine!

All in all Harmoni One is a great place to stay! I would recommend this place to my friends…in fact, many of them booked the same tour and stayed in the same hotel and all of them gave the same impression of elegance!

Rating? 4 out of a scale of 5. Minus 1 for the food :P.