Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Lilas are coming Home!

Dear Family,

Well at last the two grandmothers will return from their travels. I am sure they had a wonderful time since I know that my family (all of you over there) is the master of hospitality. In a country famous for hospitality, you all really know how to do it better than anyone I know! I am looking forward to all the stories and all the pictures. We had already enjoyed the photos that Happy put up on her multiply site.

Thanks to Omy’s family as well who also welcomed Mama and Aunty Terry. Thanks Ayo, Mommy, Robie and Ritzi!!

I hope you are enjoying your warm weather because here it is COLD!!!! I am afraid that the Lilas are going to have a bit of a shock when they get off the plan. It has been so cold that I wear an undershirt (never done it before) and a jacket in the house all the time. Of course we have the heater on, but the temperature in some parts of the house still gets chilly. We did not burn any firewood this year since we were originally planning to replace the wood burning fireplace with a pellet stove. So we did not buy any firewood. And them Omy got unemployed so that project really got put on the back burner. Next year for sure we will put in the stove and then it will be warmer in the family room. Even the dogs will like it better!

Finally all of the Christmas decorations are taken down and in the garage. Omy just has to go up there one more time. Now all the surfaces are covered with the new textbooks of all the family who have all gone back to class. Of course, Stephanie who has her last semester of HS, then there is Omy who is in a Program Management class at Foothill College, adding to his knowledge about that. Catie is in an illustrator software class at Chabot College (our local community college), and I am starting the first semester of my Moore Fellowship at San Jose State University. The Fellowship pays my tuition and pays me a stipend of $4000 per semester. This is really coming in handy since Omy probably won’t start working until February.

Omy is interviewing at Seagate, the same company where Desa works. It would be very cool if he got a job there. They could car-pool to Scott’s Valley (at least 50 miles away). He has interviewed at other places too and we are just always waiting for the next step. I am not as anxious as I was in the beginning, but we are impatient for him to find employment. Please everyone continue to pray that he finds a job soon. He will be starting something that could be rather fun though. At the end of the month he is going to work as a Cirquador for Cirque du Soleil. Manpower went to their Promatch group to recruit; he applied, interviewed, and was hired. They only pay $10.00/hour but it should be interesting and give him something to do. He is excited to be at the Cirque, backstage and around the tents 4 days a week. It will be something fun to talk about. He can add to his resume that he worked for the circus.

We enjoyed the beginnings of Aunty Mary Anne’s Blog and we continue to enjoy Kathleen’s, Mimi’s , and now Merci’s blog at What a family of bloggers!! And of course this was the year of all the Multiply sites! That has been fun too! I have a starter blog too, but I am nowhere as talented as the four I have mentioned. Mama mentioned a Joaquin Family cookbook. Who is the “go to person” for this project? I would like to participate, so I need to know where to send the recipes when I get those rare minutes when I can go get the recipes I would like to share. And do we have a time line? LET ME KNOW!!!

Last Friday, January 18th, was Stephanie’s 18th birthday. Two of her friends with the help of Catie, took her in a Limousine to San Francisco to eat at the Cheesecake Factory on the 8th floor of Macy’s. Aunty Merci was kind enough to go to the restaurant and put in the table request and hold the table while Stephie, Allie, Catie and Lillian made their way through the traffic from Fremont to San Francisco. Merci had an appetizer and a drink while she waited for them and then gave them the table when they arrived. They had a fun time. The Limo was very fancy and they had a bottle of sparkling cider and some snack in the back. They even had music videos in the back too! What a fun way to celebrate! The following evening on Saturday we had a family meal at Outback Steakhouse. So Stephie had a fun birthday celebration.

The birthday season has started for us; tomorrow is Michael Zraick’s birthday, then Omy on 2/2, Carissa on 2/13, Catie on 2/23, Mama on 3/17, Merci on 3/20. I did not include the birthdays of those not in this geographical region because we won’t see them (Margot, Melody, Aunty Lou, Patrick,…….get the idea?)

The insurance man came to look at the leak damage. It will be repaired sometime after the rains have stopped. It is not actively leaking now, and the newspaper covering the hole is quite charming in a third world way.

So I have to sign off now, Cross your fingers and maybe we can make a family trip over there before too long. Keep Omy’s job hunt in your prayers and for goodness sake, send me some email sometimes, even if it is only a forwarded thing. Maritess Arnaiz and Beej are good at that one. I see Rhea and Bunny on Yahoo Messenger as well as Pancho sometimes. All of you should get on Messenger for that serendipitous conversation when we see each other on line.

Love always,

Friday, January 11, 2008

What a difference a century makes! (Thanks to Maruja)


The year is 1907. One hundred years ago.

What a difference a century makes!

Here are some of the U.S. Statistics for the Year 1907:

************ ********* ********* ******

The average life expectancy in the U.S. Was 47 years old.

Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. Had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.

There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S. , and only 144 miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more Heavily populated than California .

With a mere 1.4 million people, California was only the 21st Most populous state in the Union .

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!

The average wage in the U.S. Was 22 Cents per hour.

The average U.S. Worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, A dentist made $2,500 per year, A veterinarian $1,500 per year, And a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. Took place at HOME.

Ninety percent of all U.S. Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which Were condemned in the press AND the government as "substandard."

Sugar cost four cents a pound.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from Entering into their country for any reason.

Five leading causes of death in the U.S. Were:

1. Pneumonia and influenza

2. Tuberculosis

3. Diarrhea

4. Heart disease

5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.

The population of Las Vegas , Nevada , was only 30!!!!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea hadn't been invented yet.

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

Two out of every 10 U.S. Adults couldn't read or write.

Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists Said, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

There were about 230 reported Murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.!


Just Try to imagine..... What it may be like In another 100 years !!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Virus!!


There is a dangerous virus being passed around
electronically, orally,
and by hand.

This virus is called
Weary-Overload-Recreational-Killer (WORK).
If you receive WORK from any of your colleagues, your
boss, or anyone
else via any means DO NOT TOUCH IT. This virus will
wipe out your
private life completely.

If you should come into contact with WORK, put your
jacket on and take
two good friends to the nearest grocery store.
Purchase the antidote known as
or Bothersome-Employer-Elimination-Rebooter (BEER).
Take the antidote repeatedly until WORK has been
completely eliminated
from your system.

You should forward this warning to 5 friends. If you
do not have 5
friends, you have already been infected and WORK is
controlling your

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Storm News!

We are having some serious winter storm action here. It is like a typhoon when we used to live in Baguio. I say that because it is too cold to be otherwise. The wind blew so hard and the rain came down so much that we developed a




It just missed the computer table by a few inches! There was a pool of water in the family room and I was about to blame the dog when I realized that the pool was way too big to have been made by the dog.. I was coming from the ceiling. By some miracle, none of the furniture got wet. We called the neighbor, Robert, and I was IM-ing Desa and told her what happened and George appeared at the door in a few minutes with a tarp and a ladder. So Omy, George and Robert climbed up on the roof in the driving rain and put a tarp over the side of the roof where the chimney is. I believe the leak came from the wind driving the water between the two layers of roofing; the original roof and the roof of the addition. It accumulated in the attic and started leaking out through the joint in the sheet rock. Omy had already made a hole to let the water out and then they cut a hole. George brought over a blower fan to help dry it up and eventually the dripping stopped.


So now there is an 18x18 inch hole in the ceiling just in front of the area between the computer and the fireplace. When the rains are over we will have it repaired. There a bunch more rainy days coming. The weather reports say there are two or three storms in this batch. The good news is that California is making up for the water deficit.


Today is the last Saturday before Stephanie has to go back to school, so we are going to the movies. Actually Catie and Stephie went out yesterday after the rains died down. They will watch Michael this afternoon while we oldies go out to the movies.


ALL of us will be in school this month. I am teaching again on Tuesdays, I am back to grad school on Wednesdays, Omy is starting a Program Management class on Tuesday nights, Catie will take the next Illustrator software class at Chabot College on Tuesday nights too, and of course Stephanie has the rest of her senior year of high school to go.


More later,




Maria, Omy, Catie and Stephanie




Even some pets have a blog, so why not me?

More and more we live our lives in the ether. It is easy to be the armchair expert when we need less and less to look our audience in the eye.

Last semester I took a "teaching and learning with technology" class and I started to become familiar with the great ether in a more usable way. so I decided to try it out.

But there are so many places to go and I must use my time wisely. Entertainment has never been so easy or more time consuming.