Friday, August 31, 2007

Partisans and non-partisans

Tomorrow brings on the much awaited Feyenoord vs. Willem II game. Joel's tickets arrived a couple of weeks ago and while the game isn't a major one (according to Jan) it should be interesting enough to keep young footballers interested and inspired as fans of one of the biggest clubs in The Netherlands.

My brother-in-law (an avid footballer) contends that my son's football club is brainwashing these kids and training them to be fans of a club that can't compete with Ajax (the other huge football club). I suppose you could say there are more Ajax fans in our circle of friends than there are Feyenoord fans, but at 7 years old going on 8, my son just doesn't care about all that. All that matters to him is that they're all playing football, and if he had his say, everyone would win and no one would lose.

I have to smile after reading through that because it reminds me of watching the gladiator fight in Archeon. It was a fake fight with fake swords, but to Joel it must have seemed very real because after they dragged away the "dead" gladiator, he turned to me and said : "It's all fake, isn't it?" He wasn't saying that because he knew it was fake, rather he wanted to know for sure that it was fake.

Once out of the "arena", he breathed a sigh of relief when he saw both gladiators standing outside waiting to greet their "fans". He rushed towards the bloody gladiator (the one who'd died) and told him how relieved he was that the man wasn't dead at all. Afterwards, I asked him who he'd been rooting for, and he said..."both of them". I didn't want either one of them to die or to lose.

On their first football competition, I remember laughing so hard because Joel was cheering not only for the goals his team made but also for the goals the other team made. Each time, he would shout..."goal!" and he'd do a little dance singing "ole, ole". It's a good thing his teammates were all six years old (like him) and didn't have the slightest idea that the goal made was one against them.

I think this phase of non-partisanship embodies the wonder and the awe and the innocence of childhood. Wasn't there are time when we were all for everyone winning and we thought the world was this ideal place bathed in green and gold sunlight? That passes too quickly, I think. I'd like to hold my son in this moment when he's still brimming with innocence and love and friendship for's just too sad that it has to go because the world isn't kind to innocents anymore.

"Don't talk to strangers," I tell him. "Don't talk to strangers, don't go with strangers, and on no account are you to get into a car or take a piece of candy from a stranger."

"But I can smile and say good day, can't I?" he asks.

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Well, that just confirms it...

Your Brain is Purple
Of all the brain types, yours is the most idealistic. You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.
You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Adding Maria Zannini to the blogroll.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Byzarium is one of my favorite Webzines. It was through their flash fiction contest that I found out about the artist, Remedios Varo. Last year, they published my flash piece, Mistress Vogel, and visiting the webzine recently, I found out they'd created an audio file to go with the piece. It was pretty cool hearing Mistress Vogel read aloud.

Here's the link in case you want to hear it:

Which brings me to this idea of creating more audio files to load onto the blog sometime in the future. I shall have to do some more technical experimentation, but I think it will be fun.

Inspite of the mix-ups, I now know how to change columns on Haruah, set illustrations to proof, and I think next time I'll be able to link photos to poems/stories with less mixups and booboos.

A reprint of my Sunflower poem is now up on Haruah, so you can visit at leisure if you wish.

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Have corrected the broken link to where Eileen plays Angelic Poker.

Adding OMF Lit Editor, Beng Alba, to the blogroll.

Poet and Liberty Hall Founder, Mike Munsil.

Liberty Hall.

Copple's Creations (Haruah's Managing Editor does have a blog)


Galatea Resurrects, seventh issue is online

GALATEA RESURRECTS (A POETRY ENGAGEMENT) is pleased to release its seventh issue.

You can access the issue at For convenience, the Table of Contents is also featured below. Please note we are always looking for reviewers and review copies; information about review submission is at .




Jessica Bozek reviews AFTER YOU, DEAREST LANGUAGE by Marisol Limon

MartinezNicholas Manning reviews POEM FOR THE END OF TIME AND OTHER POEMS by
Noelle Kocot

Eileen Tabios engages THE STEAM SEQUENCE by Carly Sachs

Brian Strang reviews BROKEN WORLD by Joseph Lease

Brenda Iijima reviews A HALF-RED SEA by Evie Shockley

Patrick James Dunagan reviews A FIDDLE PULLED FROM THE THROAT OF A SPARROW by Noah Eli Gordon

Nicholas Grider reviews INSECT COUNTRY (A), INSECT COUNTRY (B), and the INSECT TUTELAGE BLOG by Sawako Nakayasu

Patrick James Dunagan reviews TRAFFIC: A PUBLICATION OF SMALL PRESS TRAFFIC, ISSUES 1 AND 2, (2005-2007) edited by Elizabeth Treadwell

Teresa Carmody reviews [one love affair]* by Jenny Boully

John Bloomberg-Rissman reviews THE BODY ACHES and NOT EVEN DOGS by Ernesto Priego

Nicholas Grider reviews NETS by Jen Bervin

Patrick James Dunagan reviews HOUSE ORGAN #58 Win/Spr ’07 edited by Kenneth Warren

Nicholas Manning reviews GUESTS OF SPACE by Anselm Hollo

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz reviews THE GODS WE WORSHIP LIVE NEXT DOOR by Bino A. Realuyo

Jennifer Bartlett reviews THE SECOND CHILD by Deborah Garrison

Eileen Tabios engages BROKEN/OPEN by Jill Jones

Laurel Johnson reviews THE ELEPHANT HOUSE by Claudia Carlson

Alysha Wood reviews a(A)ugust by Akilah Oliver, with collages by Brenda Iijima

Eileen Tabios engages BELLUM LETTERS by Michelle Detorie

Steve Halle reviews POSIT by Adam FieledPaul Klinger reviews THE BOOK OF OCEAN BY Maryrose Larkin

Michelle Detorie reviews BIRDS AND FANCIES by Elizabeth Treadwell

Eileen Tabios engages ERRATUM to and including A SPY IN THE HOUSE OF YEARS (LEVIATHAN PRESS, 2001) by Giles Goodland

Craig Santos Perez reviews NAMES ABOVE HOUSES by Oliver de la Paz

Christopher Mulrooney reviews OSIP MANDELSTAM: NEW TRANSLATIONS edited by Ilya Bernstein

Craig Santos Perez reviews ANYWHERE AVENUE by Oscar Bermeo

Christopoher Mulrooney reviews STIGMATA ERRATA ETCETERA by Bill Knott, with collages by Star Black

Nicholas Grider reviews THE STATES, Vols. 1 and 2 by Craig Foltz, designed and edited by designed and edited by Ellie Ga, and with photographs by William Gillespie, Justin Ulmer, Martin Bland, Sabra Cox, Kristina Del Pino, Simona Schneider, Florence Neal, Jon Ciliberto, Stephen Mead, Christa HOlka, Don Goede, Lyn Lifshin, Shelton Walsmith, Marie Kazalia, Rebekah Travis, Lara Khalil, Tracy Lee Carroll, Jennifer Stahl, Barbara Henning, Jade Doskow, David McConeghy, Jared Zimmerman, Alice Arnold, Robert Matson, Mary Wrenn, Julia Marta Clapp, Tina Burton, Jim Simandl, Philip Metres, Chris Hampton, Hayley Barker, Thomas Ciufo, Meredyth Sparks, Shannon Shaper, Renae Morehead, Ryn Gargulinski, Robert S. Dunn, Jen Hofer, David Gatten, Jerilyn Myran, Shara Shisheboran, Courtney Fischer, ARiana Smart Truman, Tod Seelie, David W. Lee, Katherine McDowell, Mike Mahaffie, Willile Baronet, Karen Lillis, Paul Yoo, Justin Simonsen and Elizabeth Willis.

Beatriz Tabios engages BRIDGEABLE SHORES: SELECTED POEMS (1969-2001) by Luis Cabalquinto

Carlos Hiraldo reviews THE SALESMAN'S SHOES by James Roderick Burns

Nicholas Manning reviews FOLLY by Nada Gordon

Alysha Wood reviews trespasses by Padcha Tuntha-obasKristin Berkey-Abbott reviews THE MCSWEENEY BOOK OF POETS PICKING POETS edited by Dominic Lumford

Joe LeClerc reviews THE ENEMY SELF: POETRY & CRITICISM OF LAURA RIDING edited by Barbara Adams

Hugh Fox reviews LIBIDO DREAMS: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS by Glenna Luschei

Laurel Johnson reviews THE MOUNTAIN IN THE SEA by Victor Hernandez Cruz

Craig Santos Perez reviews THE WIND SHIFTS: NEW LATINO POETRY edited by Francisco Aragon

Kristin Berkey-Abbott reviews PUNK POEMS by John Burgess

Julie R. Enszer Reviews SUGARING by Ann Cefola

Julie R. Enszer Reviews TEAHOUSE OF THE ALMIGHTY by Patricia Smith

Julie R. Enszer Reviews CINEPHRASTICS by Kathleen Ossip

Julie R. Enszer Reviews THE PARAGON by Kathrine Varnes

Julie R. Enszer Reviews KALI’S BLADE by Michelle Bautista

Julie R. Enszer Reviews three books by Rochelle Ratner: QUARRY, COMBING THE WAVES, and PRACTICING TO BE A WOMAN FEATURE ARTICLE"Objections to the Beauty-Object: A Reading of Two Poems by Barbara Guest" by Catherine Wagner"The Ocean At Night: An Inside Look at the Poetry Process" by Aimee Celino Nezhukumatathil


Catherine Wagner reviews 19 VARIETIES OF GAZELLE: POEMS OF THE MIDDLE EAST by Naomi Shihab Nye and EMAILS FROM SCHEHEREZAD by Mohja Kahf

Catherine Wagner reviews CATALOGUE OF COMEDIC NOVELTIES: SELECTED POEMS by Lev Rubinstein, Translated by Philip Metres and Tatiana Tulchinsky

Catherine Wagner engages four books by Alice Notley: DISOBEDIENCE, MARGARET AND DUSTY, MYSTERIES OF SMALL HOUSES and SELECTED POEMS"ADVERTISEMENT"Poetry Feeds The World!BACK COVER Winepoetics!

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Beach photos


and the beach beckons...

Sand between your toes

Sand in your clothes
Sand everywhere

and beyond the sand--

the waves
and the cold North Sea.

I sometimes wonder

whether the call of sea
is a primal call
recorded in
mankind's collective DNA.

Joel's Sand Initiation

Brothers on the beach at Noordwijk

Our Samuel enjoys a bit of Sunbathing after four


Thursday, August 23, 2007


It's never easy to predict what kind of summer we'll be having. This year, we've had more rain and more gloomy days than we would have liked, but I'm not complaining as the days of sun and dry weather are such treasures, and we've been out even on gray days arming ourselves against the wind and the rain with flimsy umbrellas and praying that God will just keep Samuel dry.

This week, Joel's cousin came over and we had to dig out the tent from its hiding place in the attic and put it up as the cousins had decided they wouldn't sleep unless it was in the tent in our backyard. Thank goodness it isn't a huge thing, and Jan was able to put it up before dark. They slept in the tent on Monday night, but Tuesday was just too wet and too cold so the cousins migrated to the floor of our living room.

We have decluttered and minimalized the living room. Deciding that the area is called a living room for a purpose, we've unplugged the television(a drastic measure) and exiled it to the master's bedroom to await a more permanent fate. If I were to decide, I would just get rid of the thing. It's huge and it's black and while I've tried to reconcile myself to the television, I still think it's a noisy monster that doesn't really contribute much except noise pollution.

Maybe this is because television entered our lives pretty late. By the time we had tv in the mountains, I'd already read through my parents collection of fairytales, Bible Stories, Shakespeare, and C.S. Lewis along with a bunch of other true to life stories and Reader's Digest treasury books. Since Joel's birth, I've been trying to advocate a banishment of television and now that it's finally done, it's like being able to breath. Amazing!

Beautiful mornings waking up to the sound of Joel Jan reading from his Donald Duck comic collection...or afternoons when he reaches for a game (like the pocket money game, triominoes and chess). Yes, it's busier and much more intensive than turning on the television and sending your kid to some spaced out zone for a number of hours, but I think in the long run it allows for more creative and amazing interaction. As far as I'm concerned, the television can remain in exile until the kid reaches eighteen.

Thinking about this, I realize how easy it is to just let childhood slip away from us. I love how Jan comes home and finds himself engaged in conversation with his eldest or in some droolly brabble with his youngest son. I watch Joel with his brother and I think how precious it is to see how much Joel has grown beyond his initial jealousy and the struggle at having to share the attention. It's beautiful to watch him with his brother, and I thank God for giving us Samuel and for giving Samuel such a great older brother who doesn't hesitate to show his love and his affection.

Watching Joel Jan grow, I think of how true it is that our children absorb our values. Point of example:

A typical Dutch person who wants to get from Point A to Point B will time excursions so that in an X number of minutes whatever point of arrival or departure is achieved.

Joel, with his mix of Dutch and Filipino characteristics wants to get from Point A to Point B on time, but he will make allowances and if we are late for the bus or the train, it isn't such a huge problem because we can always wait for the next one. That means another 30 minutes to be sure, but it means we have more time to observe things around us.

Having absorbed some of this Dutch obsession with time, I've decided to leave the house at least 25 minutes ahead of whatever station we're headed for. This way, we can walk at a slower pace and chat while we walk.

I think of how the Dutch perception of holidays and vacations is so influenced by the idea of "getting away" that our staying at home doesn't seem like a real vacation to them at all. I have to smile thinking of the countless times I've had to explain that for a Filipino, just staying at home and having the luxury of not having to wake up at 6 in the morning is already a vacation. And isn't it a vacation when you aren't chasing after time but really just pacing and enjoying each moment that comes?

I honestly don't feel deprived by staying at home this entire summer vacation. Goodness knows, it's been busy enough with trips that have taken us to places in The Netherlands.

I so wish vacations could last forever...but I do know they have to end so we can appreciate them more next time they come around.

Remember the feeling you used to get when summer was coming to an end and you knew you had only a couple of days left to enjoy the freedom? I'm getting that feeling now... I so wish vacations could last as long as we wanted them to last.

Photos coming next time.


Sunday, August 19, 2007


Samuel will soon be seven months old. Time flies, doesn't it? I think my body is starting to get back to normal and my energy and concentration level is improving. We're turning the house upside down...and oh so poetic to be minimizing and getting rid of unnecessary stuff. It reminds me of how writing involves getting rid of the unnecessary.

I am working on edits for pieces from my memoir which will be included in OMF Lit's upcoming book. I'm quite excited and a bit nervous too. I hope I'll be able to do a good job of rewriting and that this book will make a connection with readers both at home and abroad.

This week's mail brought me a lovely acceptance from Corey and Rachael of The Orange Room Review. For family back home, the poem they've accepted was inspired by memories of Uncle Estol and those nights we spent in Mayon Street. I could write tons about that apartment. So much nostalgia in those memories. It doesn't take much effort to remember the sound of jeepneys and buses outside, the black dust that stuck to our noses when we peered through the window screen, the heat at night, and the mystery of the work/sleep place where Uncles retreated to.

So many memories of Mayon. Uncle Lix's volkswagon and the endless refurbishments and repairs it underwent. Memories of Mayon are also coupled with memories of Uncle Haniel and his great booming voice. Ha, ha. Uncle Haniel with his great big bulk of a belly and his goatee that made him look so severe and so very, very impressive. My mother says: But he had a good heart.

Funny how the heart insists on missing these things that remind us of home.

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Spot the Difference

Who does your child look like? It's a favorite game played all over the world, I think. Looking through old photos I came across these and thought I'd post them along with some new photos of my boys...who looks like whom?
Me and my Lola

I suppose this explains why I love cake...

Because one can never start early enough

The Brothers

The Grandparents

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Friday, August 17, 2007

An Interview with Mary E. DeMuth

In connection with the Authentic Parenting Blogtour, I thought it would be fun to try something I've never done before. I emailed Mary and asked if she'd be willing to do a live interview with me, and she said yes. I then recorded the interview and my wonderful husband agreed to do a great deal of the technical work involved in editing the recorded file. The results are available as downloable mp3 files (quite short about 1 to 2 minutes for every file) and you can access them by clicking on the links.

Here is an Interview with Mary E. DeMuth:

Mary talks about her motivation in writing Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture

Mary talks about the challenge of writing the book

What role real life experience had in the writing of this book

Mary addresses misconceptions about her book

Closing words

Listen to Mary read a favorite passage from Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture

I hope you enjoyed listening to the interview. Do visit Mary's Blog at: where you can also purchase a copy of her book.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture

I found Mary through a post by John Cooke on The Sword Review forum, and since then, I've followed her writing career with interest. I confess to having read a number of parenting books, and when I read about Mary's newest book, I found myself wondering what else there was to say about parenting that hadn't been already said.

In her introduction to Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, Mary writes:

...postmodernity radically affects the manner in which we parent. To prepare and engage our cildren in their postmodern world, we must embrace dialogue, community, the world. We must reorient ourselves beyond the four walls of our insulated homes. We must see our parenting as a kindred journey with our children, a coming alongside.

As I read through the chapters of this book, I found myself touched by this mom who shares her own fears, her hopes, her failures and her moments of vulnerability. I am reminded too of the strength of stories and how the sharing of life experiences can be life giving.

Later on this week, I'll be posting an mp3 interview I had with Mary. Be sure to keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, here's a list of blogs where you can find Mary's book this week:

A latte and some words
Chat 'n' Chew Cafe
Experiencing the Journey
Fabric, Paper, Thread
Fictional Journey
Haruah - Breath of Heaven
I Wish You Enough
Leanna Ellis
Margaret Daley
Partners in Prayer for our Prodigals
Robyn’s Ramblings
See Ya On the Net
Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna
Sormag Online Tours
The Authentic You
The Spiritual Mom
Why Didn’t You Warn Me?
Write from my Heart

Saturday, August 11, 2007

star showers and a blog tour

It's almost two in the morning as I write this. Joel and I just came in from watching the skies and waiting for the Perseid Meteor Shower. We saw a number of meteors flash by...quick as an eyeblink. According to news reports the rain will be full blast between two a.m. and five in the morning, but we came in as it was getting quite fresh and it was pretty hard to ignore the yawns coming from my eldest son's direction.

Moments like these are so precious though. Here's a conversation and an overheard monologue:

Me: Keep your eyes on the sky and when you see a star, make a wish.

Joel: Can I make three wishes?

Me: Sure you can.

Joel: Okay... (whispery voice) I wish I could be a millionaire...oh wait...something better...I wish I could ... mumble, mumble...oh, that's impossible...then...I wish for a good life...yes, that's the wish...I wish to have a good life and to be able to buy another wagon for my train collection.

Listening to Joel's discussion with himself, and watching the night sky, I had to think of Mary De Muth, and the blog tour for Authentic Parenting in a Post Modern Culture, and how moments like these are priceless and worth more than anything money can buy. Mary speaks of authentic parenting from the standpoint of a parent who is just like us. I like how her openness and her honesty allow me room to admit I'm a parent in progress...a parent desiring to be the best parent I can be in the midst of a society whose culture doesn't resemble the culture I grew up in.

I'll be blogging about Mary, about Mary's book, and will be posting a live interview on this blog sometime this week. In the meantime, I'm heading out the door to watch for falling stars and make wishes for things both possible and impossible.

Monday, August 06, 2007

reader response

I got this lovely email from my sister. I always like getting reader responses to my stories, and while I do inform my family whenever I have a story published, I don't often get a response and I'm never really sure if they've all gone and read it. Anyway, I thought I'd post here what my sister sent me. It was really nice to get this response to BITB, especially since it's a story close to my heart.

My sister writes:

I also reread your Boy in the Bush on the teenage website. It is a very powerful story.. Not only does it draw the reader in, it also underscores some of the problems minority groups have in the face of the dominant "majority." I must say that you have made yourself a masterpiece in this one.

Interestingly, reading your story reminds me of what Mr. Perry Hooge said during the Career Camp for the High School Graduates from SOT. In response to a question from the audience, he asked us, "How many races do you think God created? Was it one, five, ten or it doesn't matter?" After he took a poll, he then said that those of us who had chosen more than one had been brainwashed. The reason: In the Bible God created only one race: the human race. The reason why there are so many variations in color, features, characteristics, is because in one single gene, God has placed all the information that is needed to produce a person who is white, black, red, yellow, or brown. Dr. Delbert Hooge then added that if we say that there is more than one race, then we have to have a Saviour for each of the races. Jesus Christ's death would not be sufficient for all. This is something that I have did not think about. Personally, I also think that this is the reason why we have the problem of racial prejudice. We have failed to recognize that all of us have come from the race of Adam, and therefore all are equal. Someething to think about right?

This mail certainly gives me lots of things to think about. Thanks, sis, and thanks to TeenAge magazine for publishing this story.



These past two weeks have been pretty hectic with Jan and Joel both home. We've been out a lot, travelling all over on trains and busses. The train conductor actually recognized us : Hey, aren't you the family from yesterday?

Yesterday, we went to the beach at Noordwijk. It was one of the warmest days we've had so far, and everyone came up with the same idea to go to the beach. So, it was quite a tight sqeeze on the bus. Coming home, we had to fold Samuel's buggy and I had to get on the bus with Samuel in my arms. I thought I'd have to stay standing for the entire trip, but there was this really nice girl who stood up and offered me her seat. (Actually two people offered, one was an older woman and there was this girl who must have been about 18 years old). It was such a kind deed, that I wanted to say something like God bless you or Bless you, but I wasn't sure she'd be open to being blessed, so instead I blessed her silently and went and said thank you again when we got down at the Central Station.

Later, I found it worth remarking on that in a full bus the only ones to offer were women, whereas the men just sat there like lumps o'logs and looked straight ahead with this determined look that says: I don't see that Mother with her baby in her arms and if she loses her balance, that's her fault for squeezing on the bus.

I had to reflect on this culture that's so focused on the "me" aspect. Where I don't care what happens to my neighbour or to my fellowman as long as "I'm good" and "I've got my life together". It's such a selfish notion, and while Dutch folks are generally speaking quite generous when it comes to helping the poor and underprivileged, they can be pretty hard on each other. There's a shortage of lovingkindness in this culture -- I don't know if it has to do with all the freedoms folks are allowed, but I want my kids to grow up knowing that lovingkindness is a good thing and getting ahead isn't everything in life. I know it's got to begin with me, and I've started checking myself...have I shown someone some lovingkindness today?

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