Mar 29, 2012

One Red Dot

A tiny red dot.  Two actually.  One on each child's forearm.  That's what it boils down to these days.  For the last day and for the next two  it will be all about the dot.  We pray that the tiny dots stay tiny.  An odd prayer, I know.   

Our boys have, unknowingly, been in close, constant contact with someone with tuberculosis.  It baffles me that we are still dealing with this disease. Statistics will tell you that in this day and age there are only twenty two countries left  that have high incidences of tuberculosis in the entire planet.  The Philippines is one of them. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the country today.  This is the sad state of our affairs.  Our health system really needs a shot in the arm.

Speaking of shot in the arm, each of the boys got one yesterday. For now we watch and wait and check if the teeny tiny injection mark changes.  We've been briefed.  The larger and more palpable the mark, the more exposure they have had to this disease. The next course of action will depend entirely on that.  So far, so good.  Thirty hours to go.  For now I say my odd little prayer and wait. Patience has never been my strongest suit. 

Mar 25, 2012

On the Road: Nepal

I wish I had time to sit down and tell you all about Nepal.  About the four-hour day hikes we took, scaling hundreds of steps to witness a postcard-perfect sunset, the monasteries, the temples, the burst of colors. The insane sound of too many horns beeping in the middle of traffic one minute and the serene ringing of meditation bowls and Tibetan chants in the next. How we met Krishna - hands down best tour guide who we hired for a day but ended up keeping for five. What it feels like to walk through a Nepali village one second and then see the Himalayan range the next. Then there were the people with these crazy beautiful eyes and matching smiles and that all around positive vibe I'm seeing less and less but the world needs more and more of right now.

But I'm having that week when a hundred and sixty plus hours just isn't enough to get things done. 

Luckily, MacD's photos tell it all.


Mar 21, 2012


Oh, the power of simplicity. Simple words. Simple two-minute digital bites, just like this piece of awesomeness.


TED Ed is a great place to look around for stuff you can share with your kids. It makes smart sexy and cool but it’s not dumbed-down. Imagine, a lesson on brevity plus I get to introduce the kiddos to one of the best rock and rap collaborations ever. Ambulate this direction, or…

Rock on, nerds! 


Mar 20, 2012

Meet My Astrophysicist Friend

Conversations with astrophysicists... More fun when they are Filipina!

March is Women's month, I am a woman, I have a daughter, we are Filipinas, so please excuse me if I cross-post to this Pinay-power profile I did for Rappler.

Reinabelle Reyes was the first scientist to prove Einstein's Theory of General Relativity beyond our solar system. She did that when she was 26. Her research was published in Nature, the world's premiere and most discriminating science journal. That is The Journal that published Einstein's very own theories and now look, this Filipina astrophysicist is published there too—decades later, showing proof of concept for one of Einstein's master works.

Someone actually paid me to have a conversation with Reina Reyes and write about her groundbreaking research. Thank you, Universe. On top of that, we are set to collaborate on "something digital" which is all I can say for now. Sweet.

So this is Reina in a nutshell: Kavli Cosmological Institute Fellow. In the process of figuring out the exact recipe for making a galaxy. In the forefront of figuring out Dark Energy, which is oh, the next great leap for Science. Could win a Nobel. Graduated summa cum laude BS Physics Ateneo. Astrophysics PhD obtained from Princeton. Won the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Award for discovering a hidden quasar. She was just a student when she found the quasar. And oh, it's the kind of discovery that requires altering and updating science books. 

A little take away for us parents… Her mother and father never pressured her to get high grades. They just encouraged her to do her best, got her books and let her use the computer for fun and to learn stuff. No Tiger Mom behind this achiever.

I love that she wants to help change K12 education in the Philippines. She believes most of our schools need major reforms. We could have gone on and on talking about this issue alone. She herself went to Philippine Science School. She loved it there, because "they emphasized analytical thinking over memorizing cold facts." The thing is, more Filipino children need to be getting that kind of hands on, experiential education… not just Pisay scholars and kids who go to expensive private schools.


Reina will soon be launching an infographics blog on Rappler. Have us on your news feed yet? Rappler is about "inspiring smart conversations" according to our tagline. I'd like to add, controversial conversations. TanginaThis hot topic: Reina claiming she is an atheist. Interesting.

Mar 18, 2012

Top of the World

MacDaddy, at one crazy point in time, dreamed of climbing Everest. We read every book, every account, watched every documentary we could get our hands on.  We soon realized we didn't have the money,  the commitment, the time, the endurance.  Standing on the world's highest mountain was relegated  to his 'twas-worth-wishing-about-but-no-chance-in-hell-it's-happening list.

Last week we celebrated Our Thirteenth well above the clouds on a ride across the Himalayan ranges of Nepal.  Our fifty-minute mountain flight gave us the chance to stare in awe at eight of the world's highest peaks.

Best of all, with matching goosebumps, we took that one good, solid look at  Everest. 

It's the closest we will probably ever get to being on top of the world. 

Mar 9, 2012

Good Job, Social Media

I have written about the perils of praise a few times, notably for Working Mom. My latest Rappler article is actually a reprise of Are you raising a praise junkie? published in WM's June 2010 issue.

Revised for it's now called Stop saying good job to your kids! On the social news network, it got 147 Facebook likes, 89 Tweets and 182 shares, in less than 24 hours. This volume of response to my own work is new to me. It's pretty cool though to experience how quickly your thoughts and research can reach X amount of people in such a short span of time. That's social media for you. 

All that attention caught me by surprise, and piqued my curiosity, so I checked out what some of those Tweets were saying. 

My favorite tweet-reaction is below. Tweet-er Katie Davis: "Stop saying good job to your kids. Just don't say, You stink!" 

However, not everyone read the entire article like the funny Ms. Katie Davis. I want to note something off and... slightly annoying, actually. Some people do still judge an article by its title alone. Stop saying good job to your kids! is quite the hyperbole I admit, which is probably why some people thought this meant—
a] do not be affectionate 
b] be ambivalent 
c] be hyper-critical
d] and never, EVER praise children.

It does not.

You will see that, if you read the entire thing. If you don't feel like reading a 900-word article, that's fine. Just don't make conclusions based on the title alone. 

That's Putting Things Out Of Context. Now that's a social media problem for you. It is probably the oldest media issue ever since the invention of the printing press. The world is changing real fast, but some things remain the same. 

Mar 8, 2012



Thirteen.  We're off on a little adventure to celebrate "us" moving into the teens.  Be back shortly.