Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

The top things I am grateful to God for:

1. My family: I am grateful for my very caring, very beautiful, and supportive mother. I am grateful for my loving father (he has a huge and tender heart). I am grateful for my interesting, sweet, and dependable brothers and cousins. I am grateful for my generous and affectionate grandmother. I am grateful for my helpful uncles and aunts.

2. My friends: New and old, near and far, at work, at school, in the blogosphere - I learn from them. They make life fun and they comfort me.

3. Great narratives: Whether anime series, novels, films, or songs - They amuse, entertain, inform, educate, challenge, rebuke, encourage, motivate, and inspire me.

4. My job: It's challenging work - with people I respect and admire - that is helping me grow professionally and personally, and allows me to have a life outside of the office! :)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. What are you thankful for? :)

P.S. I think I lead two lives. I live in all the stories I read, watch, or listen to. And I live in the relationships with my God, my family, and my friends.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Book review: The Boy with Two Belly Buttons

Solomon has two belly buttons. So he sets off to find out if there is something wrong with him and to find other people with two belly buttons. Solomon soon realizes that he is the only boy in the world with two belly buttons. And we all know that is a recipe for ridicule. But Solomon also meets someone who appreciates that he is different.

The Boy with Two Belly Buttons is a funny and pretty straightforward story written by Freakonomics's Stephen J. Dubner, with great illustrations by Christoph Niemann . This picture book is perfect for children ages 4-6. (I fit right in there since my psychological age is oh, 5. :D) If you like stories about accepting yourself and celebrating what makes you different - or if your children simply want an amusing and touching story with delightful and adorable illustrations, I highly recommend The Boy with Two Belly Buttons. :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Book review: Christine Kringle

Carols are already playing in the malls and train stations. Decorations are coming up. Stores are starting to sell Christmas merchandise. Soon Starbucks will offer their special Christmas drinks. The Christmas season has begun - my favorite time of the year! Since Christmas is my favorite holiday I celebrate it as fully as possible and for as long as possible. The beginning of November isn't too early to start, right? ;)

I officially began the holiday season by reading Lynn Brittney's Christine Kringle. I always wondered how Santa Claus delivered all those presents in one night. (Please, no killjoys leaving comments for this post saying Santa Claus is a myth. Who else gave me all those Barbies when I was a little girl? :D) I have been enlightened. Each country has its own Gift Bringer/s! There's Pere Noel and Tante Arie for France, Grandfather Frost and Babushka for Russia, Santa Claus for the Philippines, Babbo Natale and La Befana for Italy, and so on and so forth. In Christine Kringle, all the Gift Bringers of the world are part of one family - The Yule Dynasty. And each Gift Bringer is responsible for delivering holiday gifts to the children in his or her country. Kriss Kringle has a problem though. He has no male heir. But he has a very likeable fourteen-year-old daughter: Christine. Will the Yule clan allow Christine Kringle to be the United States' Gift Bringer when Pa Kringle retires 100 years from now?

The Yule Dynasty has an even bigger problem this year though. The Town Council of Plinkbury in England has formally BANNED Christmas. Nick, the son of the United Kingdom's Father Christmas, has come up with a secret plan that will save Christmas in Plinkbury and convince the dynasty to allow Christine to become the United States' Gift Bringer. Christine and Nick head to Plinkbury with their friend Little K, the son of Japan's Santa Kurohsu, who is on a mission to promote his Living Lights invention - fantastic Christmas lights that need no electricity because they run on reindeer DNA. To help the three teenagers are Nick's mother Zazu - a beautiful, glamorous, and kind "tall elf," and Nick's uncle Egan - a handsome and clever "tall elf" businessman.

I enjoyed reading Christine Kringle because it stirred up Christmas memories (making presents, decorating the tree as a family, visiting relatives, opening gifts on Christmas morning!) and it stirred up excitement for Christmas this year. (I can't wait!!! I'm so excited about seeing all the lights up in Metro Manila, drinking Starbucks' toffee nut latte, listening to Christmas music, shopping for presents in Greenhills, getting dressed up and attending parties, and eating Christmassy goodies like gingerbread, mince pies, and chocolate. :D) Christine Kringle is a story full of good cheer, interesting tidbits about how Christmas is celebrated around the world, and Christmas spirit. If you are looking for a way to kick off the season, I suggest reading Christine Kringle with your family. :) It's a fun Christmas adventure - complete with interesting shopkeepers, mulled wine, a Christmas bazaar, Christmas nuts like myself, and a female Scrooge! It's the first book in a proposed series and I'm curious about the future adventures of Christine and her friends. I can see Christine Kringle being turned into a feel-good family movie. :) Also check out Don't forget to play the addicting Ferrari Game on the site. Through the site you can also ask Christine Kringle questions and email Santa. Hmmm, what should I ask for this year??? I've been nice...