Friday was another day off for Typhoon Nanmadol. Saturday was a step up. And today I felt like we lived at the mall.
School on Friday was canceled again, even though the storm pushed through overnight. The concern here is the typhoon, obviously, but even moreso the flooding, mudslides and general chaos that occur afterwards. So while the rains had slowed and the wind had ceased, those who lived a little further out could have a treacherous drive. Therefore, no school.
I'm not sure what we did that morning, it was so long ago, but once whatever was finished, I was reminded that Rebecca had a birthday party at 3:30 that afternoon, Katherine was invited to a friend's house and we were invited to the Taylor's for a bit. Were we housebound? Oh well, it was practically sunny out already.
So Katherine was off to string popcorn and play, and the rest of us went to Glorietta where Rebecca spent her P2000 Cinderella gift certificate for her modeling. That was a lot of fun and she picked out some great clothes including a knee length jean skirt and some summer shirts for next year. We splurged on some Auntie Anne's pretzels and I had my eyes checked at Perez Optical. Two new sets of glasses are mine (I figure lenses are cheap to replace or upgrade, but frames cost a fortune at home so might as well get them here).
Missions accomplished, we dropped Rebecca off at her birthday party, picked up Katherine, then went to AJ, Abby and Aiden's house for some chat and playtime. By the time we got home it was dark, but seeing as it was Friday night there was no rush to toss everyone in bed. We hung out and made plans for Saturday.
So the tree decorations came out Saturday morning. This year it's a kid tree so I didn't bother putting out any of the adult decorations. With four kids and new ornaments each year, we have plenty to cover every branch and eventually we'll have to buy a bigger tree, preferably a prelit one with the terrible stringing job I did. My mom called which is a good thing since I'd completely forgotten it was Saturday. The kids had been home for two days already so all my days were mixed up, but they enjoyed talking to folks back home and the tree eventually was done. The cats can't get enough of all the dangling things, which makes me wish we had a couple fewer furry creatures in the house.
Rebecca had invited two of her classmates to go swimming and have lunch with us. One had a piano recital, the other came down sick. I think she'll remember this birthday as the one where nothing went right. We still went swimming and a bunch of their friends were there as well, and we still ate at the Seafront Club where she very maturely chose potato and leek soup with a side of mozarella sticks. But you know, no matter how much other fun stuff happens, it's just not the same as the plans you'd hoped for. I felt so bad that everything went wrong for her from typhoons to illness.
Post lunch, we took on the nasty task of going to Harrison Plaza, down the street from the CCP. Harrison is the oldest mall in Manila, which means it's probably the oldest in the Philippines. It shows it too. It's dark, grungy and there are some unpleasant folks who hang around. I don't know if smoking is banned, but it doesn't seem to matter if it is. There's a Balut Eggspress trolley and "free parking" that is monitored by dozens of yellow vested guys who insist you pay P20 to park in the gravel lot. It's a joy to visit, and we did so to drop off some pictures to be framed and to check out a rug shop. The real reason we went here of all our choices is the proximity to Seafront. I can stop by while the boys are in preschool to pick up the frames when they're ready. I can't wait to actually put up all these things in our new place. Currently we're just getting them framed and stacking them up against the wall at home. No sense putting things up now, right?
Finally home, it was time to get dolled up, for last night was the Consular Ball held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati. It was fun. I admit, yes, it was fun to get dressed up a bit and sit with a table of friends while eating and listening to a live band. Photographers were everywhere, and like the Oscars there was talk of this dress and that, from the subdued to the extravagant. I bet you're wondering what I wore? A leftover from the mid-90s, sad to say, but it fit the black tie bill as a floor length velvet gown with black velvet shoes, updated only with gorgeous shawl that made it all acceptable. Of course we sat at a table with Tahwanda who had bought loads of embroidered silk in Bangkok and had a stunning gown made for her. I was so envious thank goodness my dress was already green. I've told Ian that if he gets the tuxedo made that he -should- have, I would get a dress made. Now to face the reality that I know absolutely nothing about fabrics, style or anything else that makes a good dress. But then what does Ian know about tuxedoes, right? Right?
And guess what, I won a raffle prize. Oh no, not the cruise of the Greek islands, not the tickets for 2 to anywhere in Europe, not the four days in Hong Kong with air and hotel, not the trip to El Nido... no no no. We won a single economy plane ticket to Xiamen, China. Who wants to come with me!? Oh wait, you can't! Because it's only one ticket!
That one is getting tossed into the raffle at the Embassy Consular Christmas party. Not that I'm not grateful for winning something, but I have no intention of going to Xiamen and neither does Ian, so we'll let some other lucky soul go.
We were home by 11:10 which isn't bad for something that started at 7:00.
So that brings us to today. We desperately need to go grocery shopping, but hey there are more important things to do. With church done, I put our Christmas photo on a CD and we went back to Glorietta. Some additional Christmas shopping accomplished, we made our way to the entertainment center where "Aladdin and Jasmine Star Struck" was going to be performed. There's always a section blocked off with chairs but I've never been a lucky one to sit there, so this time I figured I'd at least ask what the guidelines were for getting a seat. The sign said holders of the Ayala value card and "shoppers", whatever that meant, but as I was asking, one of the organizers came up and ushered us past the ropes and into seats. Off to the side and a few rows back we could see just fine. Then another organizer came up and asked if one of the girls would like to be a princess. Of course both arms shot up but the luck of the Katherine continued. We were moved to the very front and center row, Katherine was given a crown, a wand and a line and we watched the production. After a round of religious Christmas carols and a rap of "You down with G-O-D?" it began and in 45 minutes we had the abbreviated and lip synched quasi-Disney version of Aladdin, with local girls literally screaming over the male lead whenever he came into the audience.
Katherine did great. At the point where Aladdin is told that only a princess from another kingdom can grant his wish to become a prince, they looked into the audience and the very blue genie came down and brought her up on the stage. Aladdin knelt and implored her to grant his wish. She replied "So glad you asked... Done!" with a wave of her wand. It was perfect and once again she declared that she wants to be on TV when she grows up. Sometimes I think she just might do it.
There was the issue of Rebecca who had also volunteered but lost out, yet again. Katherine would not give up her crown, no chance, but showing her new colors and her attempts at controlling herself, she told Ian that while she was disappointed it was OK that Katherine would be the princess. Ian says that secretly she was relieved, for Rebecca is still a bit shy in public.
So it all worked out and my kids are growing up even while Jonathon insists he's still a baby. It was a great weekend with a yummy lunch at TGI Fridays and all in all, I'm happy with my clan.