The Mini- Reveal: More Kittymania

I just got a call a few minutes ago. Nanny D is free to go home! Yay yay yay! Her platelet count is back to normal and with no signs of bleeding, she can continue to recuperate at home. I heaved a huge sigh of relief.

I haven’t been sleeping well since she got sick last week. Aside from the worry over the burden of additional expenses (serial CBCs + the Antigen test + hospital bill- whew!), I worried about her being sick away from home and away from her parents who trusted us to care for her while she lives with us. And with her sick for almost a week now, waiting for the results of her serial platelet counts have driven me batty. My nails are chewed down to the nubs. 😦

But, today, a glimmer of good news came via the phone call from our physician. (Incidentally, this compassionate doctor also happens to be my sister-in-law. Remember Arielle, my niece, the facebook addict? I owe Arielle’s mom big time for the care and expertise she gave us gratis. Thank you, AteE! ) Finally, after five days in the hospital, Nanny D can come home. I bet Alphonse is going to dance himself silly today. He was looking for her all day yesterday; he even went down to the dark basement to see if she was “hiding” there. 

And so, with good news comes more good news in the form of – ta-dah!- KITTIES! *shrieks*

Here are the Loungefly bags I got from my husband. I hadn’t known these were coming. I think I just mentioned these bags in passing one day. I happened to have read about one Kitty lover who owned these same bags and how she received compliments about them everywhere she went, mentioned this tidbit to my husband, and quickly forgot about these. I saw the black one first, right below the Build-A-Bear dolls and screamed out loud “I love this!”  To which, he replied, “So you don’t want the white one?” as he pulled the other one from the box. Of course, there was more screaming after that, heehee. 🙂

There were totes and wallets, also from Loungefly… 

and iPhone cases in black and pink…

followed by Hello Kitty games like Monopoly (anyone want to play with me?), Yahtzee (I do not have a clue how to play this) and even Bingo. Bingo!

To cap it all off, there were also Hello Kitty shirts from Torrid to wear! I absolutely love these! 🙂

There are still some things inside the boxes I haven’t photographed yet. Some are private stuff, just between him and me (nothing naughty, I promise, heehee!) and will have to stay that way. The ones I want to share will have to wait a few more days until our household becomes normal again. I do hope it happens soon. I can’t wait to go out again to wear and use all my Kitty stuff.

Happy Kitty weekend, everyone! 


Silver Linings

Silly me, I haven’t had my head screwed on right for a time. Sometimes, I forget that blogs are supposed to be updated from time to time. I keep making a mental note to write things down when something- anything- happens. “Remind me to write that down, will you?” I say to husband and he nods absentmindedly while he watches television. I continue with what I do, secure in the thought that I can get back to that thread of thought again. And then we both forget. So, when it comes to finally sitting down and facing the keyboard, I draw a blank. “Honey, what was I supposed to write about again?” I ask husband, who smiles and shrugs at me so genially that I cannot, for the life of me, get mad at him for forgetting to remind me what I’ve forgotten myself. 

These days, I often find myself drifting back to Facebook, where I have been spotted, online, at least once, by even my friends in the Sylvanian forum. (Hello, Mr. Bear!) Well, I have to be there; my Frontierville farm needs harvesting and my animals need some “tending, loving care” (get it? TLC?).  Indeed, it is so much easier to simply click on things, most of the time, and Facebook allows that freedom of unbridled, unrestrained clicking.  Then again, once you reach the point where you obsess over small things, like: “How did my FtV avatar get naked and bald?” perhaps, it’s time to move away from the keyboard and mouse and let your brain breathe a little.  

Busted and Naked

What she really looks like, with wig and dress (apparently, she is really bald)

There. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. Breathe in. Breathe out.

And this is where I find myself now, this afternoon, while my eggplants mature in the farm and I wait for my energy levels to rise on its own. Blog life may be vicarious to some, but Facebook is as vicarious as it ever gets.

The retreat into a non-thinking, imagined existence can be best explained by the recent events in my home. For some reason, an unsually strong strain of the flu bug has been going around, leaving the household only long enough to allow us time to get well and be reinfected again. It’s afflicted all of us twice and has become nastier each time around. This week, it’s mutated to some weird form of the bug, where aside from the fever and sniffles, the bone pain and the fatigue, it has added even more merciless features of virulence: severe stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, and the dreaded d word. (Yes, the d word, also known as Hershey squirts. Eewww. And don’t make me spell it out; it sounds gross already.) The last one I hate particularly. 

Fortunately, there are a lot of bright spots in these my dark hours. A dear friend sent me a lovely chocolate cake midweek, and though I can’t partake of it yet, her thoughtfulness brought me joy. Thank you, dearest B! 🙂

And then there was this package that came all the way from England, sent in by my lovely friend P-Angel of Panda Patch. I picked it up from the post office the day after I received the registry notice. I wasn’t feeling too well then, but nothing- not even the runs that came with this bout of the flu- could have ruined this absolutely perfect surprise for me. I think I looked rather foolish as I danced a jig right in front of the post office, under the rain. 🙂

The box- ta-dah!!!

SURPRISE!!! *faints for joy*

Seeing everything inside almost made me faint for joy. I hadn’t expected all these so my gratitude is endless, dear P-Angel. You truly deserve your name for you are truly an angel. Thank you!

When I even out the bad (yucky, icky, eewwy, vile &%^$#@ abdominal flu) with the good (A’s loving care (。♥‿♥。), Alex’s obedience this week- really!  (✿◠‿◠) , Alphonse’s kisses (✿ ♥‿♥), and my friends’ thoughtful gifts  (◕‿◕✿) ) then I guess I still come out on the positive side of things.  It’s not always easy living in the real world, but when it reminds you that life, however bitter, has moments of glorious happiness, then leaving the safety of predictable Frontierville makes it worth the while.

News on the Sylvanian (Families) Front

One of the best things about having friends is that you get first dibs on any news related to your shared interest.  Take my Sylvanian Families friends J, Kit, and Harriet. These three are my lifelines in the local SF world, as I am, hopefully, to theirs. As soon as any of us gets news of arrivals in the city (via confirmed visual sightings or through local contacts in the SF sales world), the text brigade is activated instantaneously and a flurry of messages gets passed among ourselves. Often, they take it a step further by posting pictures and prices, as Kit did here, and as J (aka moodswings) did here.

Last week was a particulary busy week as far as SF fans were concerned. We could not believe the sudden downpour of arrivals in toy shops all over the city. We had been praying fervently for new items and when they finally came, we were all beside ourselves with joy and excitement, and yes, even the accompanying frustration of not having bottomless pockets. With Kit’s and J’s guides, however, we were able to make our individual lists for our budgets and will hopefully be able to stick to them without getting ourselves into debt. (Crossing my fingers!)

I do have some new items which I have not posted yet. Early last month, I received a package from London’s Sylvanian Shop courtesy of my friend Tanja. I was so pleased to receive the Delightful Doughnut Set and a Home Interior Lights Set.  I will add them to the courtyard restaurant, a sweet addition to the various fares offered by the Chocolate Rabbit Family. Thank you so much, dear Tanja, for this lovely gift!

Later in the month, another package came in the mail, this time a late anniversary gift (another anniversary!!!) from my husband. It was the cake shop I’ve been watching at eBay but which A got much, much cheaper from another site. He also threw in the cake display stand for good measure.

I am most happy with these gifts because the Keats, my favorite Sylvanian family, are bakers. (See their family description below.) My husband got me the baker and patisserie maid outfits last Christmas, and together, they complete the set. Happy, happy!!!

Father, Rossetti Longfellow Keats, his delicate puff pastry is a special treat. The Pastry Chef extraordinaire, he fills the kitchen with panache and flair. They say he’s a poet with flour and yeast, because those chocolate dainties are a feast. Mother, Bronte Keats runs the Patisserie like clockwork, hard graft she’s never known to shirk! Efficient she is in every way, she even has time to chat and play. To all her customers she is a friend, to all their whims she does attend.

Brother, T S Eliot Keats, a name no one beats. The longest name of all, a real mouthful to recall. So Bronte has shortened it a lot, from Tennyson Swift to TS Eliot. Sister, Shelley Keats, the apple of her father’s eye, works with him and makes him sigh. Her artistic flair with just plain dough, can turn a cake into a rich Gateau, and a plum-duffing into a princely plum pudding.

Cake shop with the costumes

I did break my Kittybank to buy some items just to get the new Sylvanian Families calendar over at Toytown Eastwood. Okay, okay, unscrew is more like it, as my Kittybank is actually a candy jar, heehee. At the time of my purchase, there weren’t new items available yet so I settled for doubles of items I already had. I wish I waited a little, though; I would have still made it in time for the new arrivals. *Toinks.* Another lesson learned.

Sylvanian Families Calendar available only at Toytown Eastwood

Still, you’d think that with all the toys I still haven’t opened, I would no longer be drooling over new arrivals. And as much as I want to say that I am a model for a smart shopper, the truth is, when it comes to SFs, I am most definitely not. This time, however, I think I did my husband proud by not succumbing to temptation easily. (Also, I think he rather enjoyed not being nagged to come with me to the toy store.) 

How did I comfort myself in this period of self-restraint, you ask? Well,  I made a picture list, printed it out, and used it to calm myself down when my addicted nerves craved for more. Looking at pictures helped a lot; I simply relied on my imagination to do the rest. 🙂

Besides, behaving has its rewards, as I soon found out. Not long after, A got me some of the items in my list. Not all, he said, because the most expensive items would have to wait for a sale, but the ones he could afford to buy, he got them for me. More happy, happy!

Racoon Family, Dormouse twins, Buttermilk Rabbit twins

Stefania plays piano, Mama Diana and ref, Father Aaron and Marco and the vegetable garden

Wedding car, high chair (one of two kinds)

I’m trying to squeeze in time during the day to play with all my toys. It’s my biggest indulgence- to find some quiet time for me- away from the boys and all the chores- and spend an hour or two with my Sylvanians. It’s not everyday I get this time, but when I do, it is a real gift.

Still, while having my ME time is a real joy, I realize that in my life, this is made possible only by friendship, sacrifice, and love. To Tanja, J, Kit, and Harriet, my deepest thanks for your friendship. And to A, who after 28 years is still my bestest friend in the whole wide world, what can I say except “I love you”?

“Sentimiento de Asukal”

A Hello Kitty bowlful of sugar, anyone?

My Lola Pita called them “sentimiento de asukal” (literal tranlation: feelings of sugar), these feelings of despair and hurt mingled with a mishmash of  pity and longing. My son calls them “emo.” My husband, ever logical and no-nonsense, calls them an emotional indulgence.

Oh, well, pain always brings out the drama queen in me. Indulge me, please. 🙂 


Hello Kitty Emo

I’ve been doing quite a lot of housework over the last two weeks. I’m trying to do as much as I can before my neck REALLY starts bothering me again. In the last week or so, it’s been hurting a bit more each day. (Over the holidays, the pain was down to a barely felt one in the pain scale of ten—more like a very small crick in the neck; these days it’s up to a four.)  I’ve resumed pain meds, but nothing stronger than paracetamol (acetaminophen) or mefenamic acid. For now, I will just grin and bear it as long as I can.

Packing away the holiday décor seems such a dreadful chore, when putting them up weeks ago was so inspiring and so full of joy. It’s almost depressing, really. Ornaments  are wrapped in white tissue paper, put away for future use. Piles of dull brown boxes are scattered in the living room, your home once again a dull palette of earth colors. That is, until you realize that the accoutrements are representative of everything in this life — temporary, transient, fleeting. Except love and friendships.

I have to admit, I have lost a lot of friends along the way. Still, I have managed to keep the ones who matter. They are the ones who remind me that as painful as heck an injured neck can be, nothing can be worse than losing any one of them. Some are no longer with us, some are situated in far-away countries and are beyond simple reach, and some are here, though silent and hardly felt in my everyday life. Wherever you are, and you know who you are, I send you my hugs and my prayers.


Now for a little mania in this seemingly bipolar post:

If I thought the holidays were really over with the last décor finally boxed away, then I was totally mistaken. And if I thought I could stay away from Hello Kitty in as little as 12 steps, then I better think again. My enablers span the globe, it seems.

From my “best-friend-since-grade-school” (5th grade, to be exact, 31 years ago) Cocok and her husband Bong, thank you for these wonderful treats you sent all the way from California! I am overwhelmed with love, dearest friends, thank you.

By the way, Alphonse loved the chocolate crepes so much he ate them all in one sitting. 🙂 We had to sneak a piece or two to taste them, but he was selfish, as if he knew it was really meant for him. Also, I was planning to use the bread cutter to make Alex a HK sandwich for school but he begged me not to, heehee.  Thank you also, my dearest Bok, for the picture you sent. You are growing more handsome each day. Make us proud always, Bokie!

Now this lovely bag, which is currently my favorite, came as a New Year’s gift from hubby and kids. Don’t you love the little heads and the pompoms that scream “hello kitty addict”?

Another gift for my footsies from the kids. 🙂 They know that I love my Crocs with socks (gasp!), but I love them best with Hello Kitty socks. The boys got them for me at Marks & Spencer.

Hello Kitty with Cocoa Frosties

This is Alphonse's lunch.

And just to prove to everyone that Hello Kitty does not have to be expensive, here is another gift from A. I’ve seen this in my friends’ blogs but have never seen one in the supermarkets before. A grabbed one for me on a trip to the grocery. And what do you know? I got Hello Kitty on the first try! Lucky, lucky. (If I had gotten Minna no Tabo, I think I’d have said “Lucky, lucky” too.)

So there you have it, my little happiness-es in this little life. A dash of emo now and then to spice the pot of life, add cups of gratitude to sweeten it, sprinkle liberally with faith and hope, and you have got the no-fail, weatherproof recipe for happiness. Even a drama queen knows that.

“Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”

Michael Corleone’s famous line from Godfather III haunted me this weekend while A and I made our way to the cash register with a 35th Anniversary Hello Kitty nohohon in hand. I have not made any significant Hello Kitty purchases in the past three months, save for some miniatures from Re-Ment and Sanrio which were meant for my Sylvanian Families dollhouses. At each time I was tempted to buy anything — be it a Hello Kitty bag (my personal weakness) or holiday decorations (like the fabulous red and white HK Christmas tree skirt) — I was weighed down by having to choose between Hello Kitty and Sylvanian Families. I ended up favoring the latter most of the time, thus, leading me to believe that I was finally over my Kittymania and that I have become a sober,  recovering HK addict.

That is, until the presents started pouring in. First, there was the pink HK umbrella and small plush from my sister-in-law. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of them.) Then came a queen-sized ultra-soft pink fleece blanket from my sister Joee.

My loving husband surprised me with a very pretty Hello Kitty charm bracelet (with extra charms) purchased in Hong Kong by a friend 

and topped it off with New Year’s Kitty fortune tree and a Minna No Tabo Lion Dance dragon doll.

And lastly, the gifts that finally pushed me off the wagon of restraint — a battery-operated HK toothbrush (surely this thing tests the limits of dental care cuteness),   

an elegant black HK plush from MAC with a MAC Couture lipglass,

and — holds breath —  a Hello Kitty Barbie doll. *screams in delight* 


Thank you, dearest Ondine and Jun, for the lovely gifts. I feel really spoiled.

It isn’t easy fighting off the demons of your addiction, not when the ones you love are your greatest enablers. And while this consuming passion for all things Hello Kitty is hard to shake off and really seems destined to be a lifelong pain in the pocket (to my husband), at least I have reached a point where choices are possible. I no longer feel the need to buy everything in sight just because a mouthless feline flashes her ribbon at me. And because I think before I buy, my purchases are truly more meaningful in my life.

Now, presents… Hmmm…those are another matter altogether, heehee.

P.S. Since we’re doing really well with pictures, here’s another one, the nohohon A got for me this weekend:

Christmas Surprise

Seven days before Christmas and the presents are still not wrapped; they are hidden somewhere around the house, beneath duvets and coverlets, underneath beds and sofas, behind cabinets and drawers, stuffed in small nooks and crannies where they are least likely to be found. I am beleaguered with the constant thought of Alphonse finding them, for this year, he has decided to claim all wrapped presents as his. Oh, boy.

The tree is unfinished, too. The trimmings have been up for weeks now (one month to the day, to be exact), but for some reason, my husband, the designated lights man in this outfit, keeps postponing putting them up. Sure, some nights are simply impossible, as Alphonse and Alex, now both teenage boys, keep us in our toes with their antics. Alphonse is always a handful, and Alex, well, let’s just say, he can wear us out with his mile-a-minute “talkathon.” By the time they both say good night, we are tired as well, ready to fall asleep in our feet.

In an ordinary household of semi-grown adults, the house is set to go smoothly and like clockwork. The tree gets put up by a certain date, the trimmings and lights follow, the presents last, and they are all put away at a reasonable date in the future. Mine, however, does not appear to be an ordinary household. None of my plans have borne fruit yet. The list remains unchecked, and here I am, just days before Christmas, scrambling to make it work for this family again.

My sixteen-year-old keeps reminding me to stay cool and to take things in stride. Son, I’ve got news for you: I’ve never been one to “chill;” that simply is not in my genes. What I am is a control freak who needs everything done perfectly the way it should be. Between the added stress of the holidays and the “normal” daily workings of our real lives, I think I may be just a hair’s breadth away from a nervous breakdown. Some things I simply cannot control — like Alphonse’s newfound delight in unwrapping presents, especially those that are not his — but I’ve also realized that there are some that I can — like my husband’s aversion to Christmas lights. That should work with a little more gentle reminding (read: merciful nagging).

So here we all are, at the end of another year, looking the holidays straight in the eye. I should be used to this by now, having done this for this family for the last 18 years. Somehow, though, Christmas always catches me by surprise, even when I prepare months ahead for it. Then again, perhaps, that is part of the true spirit of Christmas — that it should continue to surprise us, long after we become jaded, disillusioned adults. That Christmas should continue to awaken us, to rouse us from the deep slumber of the year, that it be an reinvention of old and loved things, and in the process, gladden our weary hearts.

There are too many reasons these days to be downcast. Money, politics, relationships — everything that could possibly go wrong already has, it seems. But Christmas reminds us that hope is always just around the corner. That it comes toward the end of a long, dismal year assures us that however dark the tunnel may be, there will be always be light at the end.

(Published in

“How Do I Love Thee?”

For the sake of A’s privacy, I have decided not to post any pictures from my birthday vacation. Instead, I would like to share the many, wonderful ways A surprised me for this special event.

The night before we left, A brought home this cake for me and the kids. (See the dedication? How sweet!) I know Hello Kitty looks a little ragged in this cake, but I was so pleased that he remembered that I loved it just the same. Besides, Keroppi looked kinda cute!

Surprise Birthday Cake

A then asked me to pose for the camera, but I didn’t know he pulled a prank on me until I reviewed the pictures for uploading. 🙂


See how he switched the numbers from 41 to 14? Funny man, but he later made up for this by saying he has loved me since we were 14. Ahhh, what could be sweeter than that?

The cake would literally prove to be just the “icing” for my birthday celebrations as A had more surprises up his sleeve.  

At exactly midnight of May 31, just before he and I went to bed, he pulled out two more boxes from I-don’t-know-where-he-hid-them.

Midnight surprises

I was confused why he would give me another SD card until I opened the beautifully wrapped gift. Imagine my astonishment when I saw this-


“AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!” I shrieked and jumped and hyperventilated for joy!

And when I settled down from the screaming and the jumping, he gave me yet another one…

 Four million dollar love

A beautiful hello kitty-red Crumpler camera bag! How many more surprises can my heart take?

A and I then spent another hour fiddling with the camera and taking shots of each other. I fell asleep that night, wrapped in his arms, with the camera manual draped over my chest.

Over the next few days, as A and I enjoyed our brief vacation, he never failed to pull a surprise or two on me. They weren’t always  “over-the-moon” kind of surprises, though. Sometimes, it would be the simplest little thing, like a bar of chocolate or a bottle of Coke zero (“Coke is outrageously pricey in hotels,” he repeatedly reminded me. So one time, I ordered this very exotic tasting juice from room service, proud that I did not order Coke, and when the bill came, the juice was worth almost PhP600! I went back to Coke zero brought elsewhere, haha. But I digress…)

Most of the time, it was just the way he made his presence felt to me, like how, after 17 years of marriage, he still moves over to the side of traffic when we cross streets, or how he always gives me first dibs on the better pillow. Or how he starts and ends our days with “I love you.”

I Love You To Infinity Signed Kittymama Style

If I had honestly thought that by the third day, he had pulled enough surprises, I was in for a bigger shock. A knew that Hello Kitty would not be too far behind when my birthday comes every year, so he also whipped up this Kitty bag of goodies for me: three different Hello Kitty NDS lite styluses (reminder to self: plural of stylus is styli or styluses, but I like the latter better), a HK lunch bag, a metal water bottle, a pencil case (which can also double as PSP case) and stationery staples in pink and red.  

Kitty birthday surprises

How can you not love a man who feels secure shopping for Hello Kittys? 

Just this week, a few days after we came back, A brought this home for me. His gift, he says, for my birthday. “But you’ve given me so much already,” I cried out. “For your wee feet,” he jested and smiled broadly as once again, the house was filled with screams and thumps of heavy-butt jumping.

Wee Feet

I’ve always loved Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poems and when I was young, I took to heart Sonnet 43 of her Sonnets from the Portuguese. I always prayed that when I meet the man of my heart, he would love me this same way.

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.”

He already does. Am I not a lucky woman indeed?