Thoughts for My Niece That Left Us Too Soon

The last two weeks have been spent trying to come up with the right words to explain such a loss.  I have been back and forth in my grief and unable to find solace in the fact that she is no longer with us.  Along with many other friends and family, we took an uncomfortable backseat to the pain that my sister and brother-in-law have endured and will continue to endure. At times like these, one can refer back to the unfairness of it all, that such loving and open-hearted people can have something so unfortunate happen to them.  I can get eaten up in the anger of knowing that they are the last people you would ever want to be hurt by such a loss.  It breaks my heart to see the pain of my closest sister, my most trusted of family, the matron of honor at my wedding, […]

Continue Reading

A Look Back at the Women’s March in Oakland

After the election results in November, I remember reading the invite to this Woman’s March and thinking to myself that this NEEDED to happen, and asking myself why isn’t this happening sooner.  I think my immediate need for action was basically me not understanding the scale of what this event was going to be.  As the date grew closer and the anticipation of the inauguration was building as well.  I am past the point of “how did this happen?” or even mourning the times as it were.  I am past feeling the sadness over the whole situation and I have just letting the anger consume me.  I am okay with that, the anger needs to stay and keep me motivated. What made me so proud that day of the march was to see that I wan’t alone, that there was a fury that we all must feel and be activated […]

Continue Reading

Unleashing Females into the Wild

The month of October started off really testing myself on the mountains of the Lost Coast trail, and ended up watching my daughter really test herself on her longest hike to date (4.5 miles) on Angel Island and also climbing the large boulders of Yosemite’s Mirror Lake Trail. Of course I am a proud mama practically all the time, but something about her taking on these hikes makes me really glow.  There’s a lot that I’ve learned in my life through being out in nature, and I don’t think I understood it’s impact until later in life. My parents taught me a lot of self-sufficiency being out fishing or camping. I would come back from a a day spent catching on the river and wanting to immediately go out to the garden in the back to dig up some worms to bring back to the river the next weekend and […]

Continue Reading

Making Family Traditions at a Colorful and Dry Yosemite

Ever since living here in California, I had only visited Yosemite in the springtime.  There’s something so fresh and clean about springtime there, with the falls gushing with water, crisp cold air, and sometimes a bit of snow on the ground.  We usually book a yurt with Yosemite Lakes Campground, just outside the park, so we’ve been a little spoiled by heated structures to relax in white we are there.  Going in the off-season also offers us a pretty open park, away from crowds and traffic, where we can really feel like we’ve escaped. This year, the campground was pretty booked and had availability in October.  With all the other things we had planned this month, it was a little inconvenient, but we booked it anyway and had hoped we could make it work.  The group of friends we go with changes slightly most years, and this time was no […]

Continue Reading

Celebrating a Rad Dad out in Central California

To celebrate Father’s Day this year, we decided to once again celebrate it out in nature on a camping getaway.  Mother’s Day was pretty amazing and I think my husband, Peabe, was feeling like we could do something similar for his holiday. We spent 2 nights out in Santa Margarita Lake, an area that we had never camped at previously but are somewhat familiar with the area.  His last birthday we took a train out to the central area of California to do some exploring in San Luis Obispo, and he loved it.  We’ve also been around Paso Robles a couple times from everything from RV-ing to wine tasting. A couple friends joined us to really make the whole experience fun and we all had a great time camping, hiking, swimming, beer tasting, and eating through the weekend.  I was also lucky enough to have my brother join us for […]

Continue Reading

Still Playing Catch Up With Summer Break Part 2

So I’m currently out enjoying a little bit of a vacation in Seattle, and I feel can’t completely feel like I’m on vacation with other work just backing up.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to share another photo post of some fun things that happened last month. With Evie on summer break, we have been spending a lot of time hanging out.  Basically, I’ve been trying to find things to keep a little 4-year old active and burn off some of that unlimited energy that she has. It all has been both fun and exhausting, but we are also lucky enough to have some friends close by to help in the task.  Evie has made some really close friends in her 4 years of life both in kids and adults, and they have been so great in sharing some of the exhaustion with me. As I just […]

Continue Reading

Sharing Daddy Daughter Pandesal

In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I would share a special recipe that has a lot of daddy attachment to it.  Last December, Evie had her first trip to the Philippines, and one of her favorite memories there was the freshly baked sweet bread rolls called pandesal.  My dad (her Papa Benny) would make a special trip to his favorite bakery every morning to satisfy Evie’s craving. Once back in the states, Evie was constantly talking about it, she would go to sleep and wake up talking about them.  Being the superhero he always is for her, my husband Peabe (who doesn’t usually bake) decided to try to help her learn how to make them.  He looked up different recipes online and had a good two months just experimenting on different rolls, until he deducted his own winning recipe. Peabe and Evie rolling out some of their first batches. It […]

Continue Reading

The Deeper Meanings Behind My Batek Tattoo (Part 3)

Featured image: finding symbols similar to my batek hand-tapped tattoo in some woven Ilocano fabric that I brought home with me from my last trip to the Philippines in December 2015.  Some of the tattoo images have been lost through colonization but are survived because they were found in weavings and pottery. As more and more time goes on, the old ways of Filipino tribal cultures are lost.  Having the markings of my batek tattoo are not only helping me to reconnect with my own ancestry but also bring some light to an ancient culture.  The colonization of the Philippines has affected the country and it’s generations of people in so many ways, and I’m just scratching the surface of it’s effects on me. The experience and the markings were powerful and affirming, I wish I could repeat all the knowledge that my mambabatok Lane Wilcken shared with me.  I just […]

Continue Reading

Happy birthday to Mama and Coralie!

Today is a special day and definitely requires it’s own post.  I was planning to write one especially for my hard-working and ever-loving mother, but it was made even more special early this morning. Today my sister, Jan (who had just celebrated her baby shower), had her first baby.  My new niece, Coralie Ava, and mommy are doing well and resting.  I can’t wait to meet her.  

Continue Reading

Spending Mother’s Day Weekend on a Private Olive Farm

It is now my fourth year as a mother.  My little girl is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me but doesn’t go without keeping me on my toes and stressed out on a regular basis.  How can something so joyous be so frightening at the same time?  Mothers have a hard job, and four years in I can see that the “easy” years have probably passed.  With Evie getting more inquisitive and starting to understand so much in life, it’s obvious that my job is getting harder and totally molding a little mind… that’s super crazy in itself.  Add to it the daily slave labor of packing lunches, chauffering to school, changing her for ballet class, and planning activities to keep her entertained.  Then, out of the blue, she looks at me and tells me she loves me, and it’s all worth it. Some mothers take the day […]

Continue Reading