Friday, December 30, 2005
Yup. Made my own noodles--mixed the flour and eggs. Kneaded the dough with my own hands (good workout!). Rolled out and cut the noodles. Cooked the noodles. Made pasta sauce from scratch. And it was GOOD.
Store bought pasta does not give you this satisfaction. It's amazing--almost the way I feel every time I finish making a batch of soap. Don't you just love the way you can see all these ingredients come together to form something else? Amazing.
Of course the pasta wasn't quite perfect. And it took me two hours to come up with enough noodles good enough for five people. And the sauce took me another 30 minutes (I cheated--I used canned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes). But the results were superb, if I must say so myself (although I cooked rice, in case of disaster).
I am doing the dance of joy. I am twisting in weird ways to give myself a pat on the back. I am beside myself in delight. I feel so gifted!
Now why did they have to make cleaning the pasta machine so difficult?
We have new additions to our eclectic family, which currently consists of The Hubby, me, Chloe, The Boo, about 30 fish and the occasional sibling who sleeps over.
Yup, that's them in the corner, initially terrorized by The Boo. Not that Boo wants to eat them, he just wants to see. The Boo is like a kid. He's all "I wanna see! I wanna see! Please lemme see! Huh? Huh? Can I see?"
And so he found a way to get up on the table, and he just stayed there, sniffing the bird cage and sitting there, watching. Of course, The Hubby went ballistic when he saw The Boo on the table, and we had to take him down (but I secretly found it cute).
The birds belong to my sister Rix. We're keeping them here till she gets back. Since this picture, we've gotten them a bigger cage. And two more bird friends that The Hubby's mom got as a gift (note to people out there--do NOT give animals as gifts or giveaways, no matter how cute or sweet they look. Not everyone has the time, resources or personality for pets, and pets HAVE to be taken care of after they're given. So those new "pet party" things now? Poor animals! Don't. Take your kids to the zoo instead).
Sometimes I forget to feed them. Ehehe. Have to get used to having birds in the house. It's nice to hear chirping though; something different from barking and whining (fish don't say much).
I’ve never taken care of birds before. I’m thinking that there must be more exciting things for them to eat other than birdseed. Fruits or vegetables maybe? And where should we put them? Hang them up? The Hubby has named the birds Kimberly, Alcatraz, Bjorn and Natasha.
The Boo is still excited about them. When we go near the table, he rushes over and goes into his pick-me-up position (sitting up on his hind legs, with that adorable puppy-dog look) so he can see. And when he can, he still goes up on the table (yesterday, I caught Aling Lourdes, our beloved once-a-week housekeeper putting him up on the table; apparently I'm not the only one who finds The Boo's obsession with the birds cute). And I think that the birds are used to him, after the initial fright.
I wonder if, with a bigger cage, we will ever have eggs—for breakfast. Mwahaha. No really. Do these birds ever breed in captivity? I can’t wait to see.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
And I'm thinking, is that how he really sees me? How people see me?
Yes, I admit I like to rant--fine. I like to whine. I'm a whiner. And yes, I am short-tempered (but ask people who've known me; vast improvement in this area), and patience is not one of my virtues (I need to tend to the fruits of the spirit more. sigh). But that doesn't mean I'm not happy, or that I don't find joy in anything. In fact, if you ask me, I love my life. I've been blessed with so much. Sure, there are always things that I feel can be improved or can do better. But that doesn't mean I'm not content.
As for getting my way, yes, I like getting my way. I've been getting my way for 18 years. I've been away from family and basically on my own since I was 12. I'm used to getting my way. I'm used to being in charge. Nearly two decades of getting my way isn't easy to change.
But The Hubby has a point. I guess it isn't easy to live with me (I think I hear heartfelt agreement from the seester and the cuzins). I'm being selfish, self-centered.
Suddenly, I'm ashamed.
But is that going to change me?
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Sonja is dead. She was Rix’s cat.
Rix, being Rix, can’t resist bringing home strays every so often. She once brought home a boxful of kittens, which she gave away to her cat-loving friends in school. She also wanted to buy and bring home three ducks she saw in Philoca, since she pitied them strung up on a pole by their webbed feet, but she couldn’t figure out how to commute home with them. So when Rix found Sonja, half-drowned in the canal near our street, Rix naturally took her home.
Sonja was the ugliest creature we had ever seen. She was so tiny, small enough to fit in your palm. She hardly had any fur, and what little she had was clumped together unattractively, standing on end. Her tail was cut off, and her eyes were crusted shut by pus. We didn’t think she’d make it through the night.
But she did. We kept her in a rag-lined shoebox, feeding her milk via dropper. A few days after, she was crawling out of the box, and insisted on sleeping on top my PC’s AVR. She couldn’t have been more than two weeks old.
Rix was supposed to give her away when she was old and strong enough to eat without a dropper. So for a month-and-a-half, we just called her The Cat, because if we named her, we’d have to keep her. But all her friends were already loaded with Rix’s previous rescues. So she stayed, and we decided to call her Sonja (pronounced with the “J” as in “jeep”).
Sonja eventually outgrew her ugliness and became a pretty black-and-white-spotted cat. In fact, there was a time that she became so fat that if you looked at her from above and behind when she was sitting, she looked like a soccer ball. And when she slimmed down a bit, she still resembled a cow of some sort. She was a massive cat.
We were mortified when we finally took Sonja to the vet, only to find out that she was actually supposed to be a Sanjo. The vet found a tiny pair of balls that we missed. Sonja had always been a “she” to us, and so that’s how we always referred to her. But I guess it explained why Sonja often snuck out of the house, and always managed to return home un-pregnant. The last thing we wanted was more kittens, given the fact that our circle of cat-lovers was saturated with cats.
From the start, The Boo was fascinated with Sonja (although in typical Boo fashion, when we first let him smell her, Boo put Sonja’s head right in his mouth. I suppose, just like a shark, having no opposable thumbs, that’s how he gets a feel of new things). He kept close watch over her, especially her first few days. He left the box only to eat and go to the bathroom. When she was walking around, he’d trail her around the house. Initially, Sonja would hiss at Boo and lash out. He once took a clawed swipe to his nose. But that didn’t keep him away. Eventually, Sonja learned to tolerate him, and I guess they became friends.
In months, Sonja was taller and much, much quicker than The Boo. And that’s when the fun began. She’d stalk him from behind the tables and from the top of the chairs. She’d pounce on him when he’d pass by. He’d chase her around the house, around and up and down the furniture. Of course, Sonja always had the upper hand. And she picked on him a lot, even when he was sleeping. She actually bullied him. But she was always Boo’s ally. Once, when The Boo and Chloe were having a spat, Sonja came out of nowhere, and for no apparent reason, took a swipe at Chloe.
Sonja, along with Rix’s birds, was supposed to move in with me and The Hubby. But then, she died. And it seemed to be a very horrible, painful death. Rix found her in the bathroom, lying in a pool of blood that ran from her mouth. Her eyes were wide open.
We still don’t know what happened. Maybe she ate something poisonous. Or in her jaunts to other neighbors’ yards, an irate homeowner kicked her and damaged some internal organs. Or maybe she got hit by something. It seems that she died of some internal hemorrhage.
When she was a baby, she refused to be touched by anyone. Maybe the trauma of her early days made her fearful of people. But eventually, she allowed us to hold her and pet her, but it was only Rix she loved. Only Rix could carry her, and she always slept with Rix. In her last days, she was more malambing than usual, wanting more attention from Rix. Maybe she sensed that Rix was leaving for a long time; or that she—Sonja—wouldn’t be around for long either.
Rix is devastated. She has sworn of pets for now.
We’ll all miss Sonja.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Our long overdue honeymoon was fantastic. It was more a time to destress more than anything else, I guess. In fact, most of our first 24 hours on the island was spent in bed--sound asleep! No playing coy here. We were that tired. Our flight was at 7AM, so we had to be in the airport by 5:30AM, so we both decided to not sleep the night before, instead it was all work, checklists, packing and last minute panicking. We were checked in Pearl of the Pacific in Station 1 by about 9:30AM; walked to D'Mall to hunt down super cheap palenke food for brunch; back in the room by about 1:00PM; enjoyed cable TV (we don't have have cable here at home, mostly by choice); conked out by 2:00PM; woke up at 6:00AM the following day. The Hubby said I woke up at about 6:30PM, said I was hungry, then promptly went back to sleep.
We stayed a total of seven nights: three in Pearl, three in Fairways & Bluewater, and our last in Bans Beach Resort. Pearl was OK, it has potential for greatness, if only they refurbished and do better on the upkeep. They are building new units, but I wish they paid attention to the existing ones first. But service was great; everyone was nice and friendly. word of warning--food is OK, but overpriced for what you get. I wouldn't recommend eating there.
I wouldn't recommend eating at that El Toro restaurant near Crowne Plaza or Crowne Resort at Station 1. I don't know if they were having an off day since it was off season, but the seafood wasn't fresh, it wasn't cooked well, and their prices are deceptive. That was the lousiest meal we ever spent P600++ on. Never again.
But Bora has a lot of other great eating options. Paradiso Grill, for one. We had lobster and a huge kebab. Scrumptious (The Hubby felt bad when we got back, when he saw that in Market! Market! king crab was P380/kg; in Bora it was P180/100g!). And for me, the best ever tapsilog is from (strangely enough) the English Baker. They also have the yummiest lassi (yoghurt shakes) on the island. Coming in close second for the tapsi is Fairways & Bluewater's. Actually, food in Fairways is really good. They have a rather limited selection on their menu, but everything we had was a delight. Reasonably priced too. Oh, pasta does not seem to be their strength though (my arrabiata was sweet!!).
The Hubby and I walked a lot in Bora--had to burn off all the calories! We also tried to do laps every morning, either in the ocean or, when we were at Fairways, in the pool. Now that we're back, I feel bad we're settling back into our couch potato/mouse potato, sedentary lifestyle.
I loved Bora, but it's sad to see it becoming so commercialized. And the trash! How can people be so unconcerned where they drop wrappers, papers and bits and pieces, and then later wonder why the place is so dirty?
This isn't a very cohesive, interesting post, but I just wanted to get back into writing again.
This is us after a swim at Pearl's beachfront. One of the many headshots we have--the downside of being too shy and too lazy to ask someone else to take our picture. Oh well.
Friday, November 18, 2005
One of the nice things about this job is that I get first eye dibs on the latest high-end watches. If I had money to spare, I wouldn't mind getting myself a few of these babies. You don't have to be a watch person to admire the skill and genius that goes into these watches--and I'm not talking about your run-of-the-mill Swatches here. These are works of art.
Among the 50 or so watches that I had to look at, these two caught me:
The Audemars Piguet Edward Piguet Moss Agate Tourbillon and the Ulysse Nardin Royal Blue Tourbillon. Each time I look at them, my breath catches in my throat and I marvel at the brilliance of their creators. The tourbillon feature is quite an accomplishment in itself--it's one of the most complicated things you can add to a watch--but the way they executed their design. It leaves me speechless.
The Moss Agate Tourbillon, for example, is assembled on a base made from moss agate rock--and before they even start cutting the rock (takes them a week to cut for a single watch!), they look for the part with the best design (I guess they look for the prettiest moss things embedded in the rock). And this means that each watch will never look like anyone else's. Wow.
As for the Royal Blue, most of the watch parts are made out of sapphire, so you can see right through the watch. Then instead of numbers to mark the time, it uses diamonds and sapphires--a sapphire for each spot a number would be, with the space between the numbers filled in with diamonds. Totally decadent.
After I buy myself an island (Stef's idea), I will get myself an Edward Piguet Moss Agate Tourbillon and a Ulysse Nardin Royal Blue Tourbillon.
I must really lack sleep.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Yes, this Christmas, we will be making soaps and stuff. Terracotta Dreams will be in operation for a limited period only. We are also limiting our products to the popular ones: Honey Oatmeal, Rix Trix and Peppermint Jean soaps. As with last year, we can package them beautifully--perfect gifts for everyone.
I love making these soaps; I love coming up with the recipes and experimenting with ingredients. I don't scrimp on the ingredients. I wholeheartedly use everything I make (as I said before, we haven't bought soap for the past two years!). When we make soap, you can smell the wonderful fragrances from the street.
I love the way you start with oil and lye, and then mixing them together, you get something so totally different. It's like making magic.
Anyone want some magic?
Saturday, November 05, 2005
But seriously. I have come to the painful realization that I am no longer fit. I am plump. Like a chicken. I am round in the wrong places (the belly area is always the wrong place to be round, unless you're pregnant, which I am not).
Yesterday, The Hubby's family had a swimming thing in Makiling, and preparing to go there, I couldn't find a single thing to wear. I looked fat in everything. Then it dawned on me that there was nothing wrong with the mirror, or the way the light hit it. And that my denim shorts weren't just newly-washed-tight. They were just plain tight. And I really look dumpy. Woe is me.
I have to face it. I NEED to exercise. The thing is, I'd rather sleep and eat and read and work and wash the dishes and do a million other things before I exercise. Bad.
I should get back into kickboxing and swimming. It's a decision that I have to stick to. Especially since The Hubby and I are finally going on our long-overdue honeymoon in Boracay at the end of this month. Which means that I have 16 days to get myself into bikini shape.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Then of course, I still have my other clients. Thank God for Stef, who has provided such invaluable help this year. She has taken over most of my PR accounts, and that is a huge load off me. But I still do need to do a lot of work.
This year, I feel doubly overwhelmed. This is the first time I'll be going into my Last Quarter Crunch with The Hubby.
In the past years, I just camp out in my comfy computer chair, right in front of my desktop. The seester and the cousins just tiptoe around me when I fall asleep. Our helper cooks the meals, sweeps around me (she used to be quick with the broom when I finally stand up for a bathroom break) and generally does all the household chores.
Now, I do the magazine work and the house things. Not that I'm complaining. And The Hubby is helping out as much as he can. He actually cooks more often now, and I'm grateful for that. But these days, I sometimes want to throw my hands up and cry. Or refuse to get out of bed.
Overwhelmed is an understatement. I hate to admit it, but these days I'm a lousy housewife. My meals have been uninspired. Though The Hubby likes the throw-in-the-pot dishes like sinigang and nilaga, I can't keep serving him that every week! I cook in big batches now, so that we will always have leftovers, good enough for maybe two more meals. I don't think The Hubby has ever eaten so many peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast! I'm still trying to convince him that peanut butter sandwiches make good lunches and dinners as well.
And the dishes! I had just finished washing the pots and plates, and forty minutes later, they're back in the sink (which just goes to show that I wash dishes only right before the next meal--otherwise I'd have nothing to cook in). Our bed hasn't been made in days. Piles and piles of my magazine clutter are everywhere.
And to think we don't have kids yet! How did our mothers ever do it all?
If I were more efficient, I guess, all these would be a snap. But I'm not. The Hubby thinks I'm a lazy bum. I know I am a lazy bum. And that's the thing. I need help. I am drowning.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Which gets me thinking...where exactly am I going? What plans do I have in my life? I'm alarmed. I realize that beyond vague "yeah, that would be nice" thoughts, I have no clear picture of where I am headed. Even more alarming is that The Hubby and I haven't discussed our vision for ourselves. Nothing concrete (I think they should make this part of Engagement Seminars, one session devoted to coming up with a vision for your new life together). And of course, being married, my personal vision should dovetail with The Hubby's, right?
It's scary. Because if we don't have a vision for our lives, how can we have even greater visions for anyone or anything else? Like the business support company that we're putting up. Or the numerous employees working with us (two so far). Or the causes that we want to help. Or even the country, the world.
Maybe that's why people are so lost. Why we keep running around, burning ourselves out. We use up time, energy and resources on things that, in the long run, aren't going to get us anywhere. Because we have no clear picture of where we're going.
I guess vision is tied in to your purpose, what you were made for. Me, I'm a storyteller. I love being surrounded by words. I live with words. So I know my purpose revolves around the written word. But how exactly? That's what I am struggling to find out.
A good writer that I know shared this verse, and I find it encouraging: "Write down for the the coming generationwhat the LORD has done, so that people not yet born will praise Him." (Psalm 102:18). That's what I want to do; share the awesome greatness of God through my writing. Which can be hard, when you write copy and press releases and manuals all day. But I try.
Though my vision for my life is still hazy, I do have a vision for sharing my love of words. I want to put up a community reading center.
My reading room has lots of comfy chairs, cozy nooks., beanbags, large pillows. Large glass windows allow sunlight to flood in. Green living plants (obviously, someone else will be in charge of the plants) thrive between the rows and rows of books. The entire place smells fresh all the time, like lemon or lavender. The people who work or volunteer in the reading room know and can knowledgeably discuss each and every book. And they are friendly.
Every week, we have a featured book. On weekends, we have activities related to that particular book. For example, if it's a book on herb gardening, we can have a hands-on demo on how to cook with herbs. If it's a book on Monet, we can have a painting workshop.
Once a month, we have an outreach program (perhaps more often, as we really get into it). For one session we can feature soapmaking and candle making for the women at the women's centers, so they can learn how to earn money for themselves. Next session can be a learn-to-read-better day for the streetchildren. Or an arts-and-crafts lesson for the kids from an orphanage.
I want to encourage families to hang out in the reading room. We have a comfortable area where dads can relax and read the paper, a small cafe where moms can get a cup of coffee and catch up with one another. Outside the reading room we have enough garden area for running around and building things, and there's a greenhouse and a crafting cottage.
I want the reading room to be a place where people can hang out, where they choose to hang out. I want them to like being surrounded by books. I feel that people these days, kids especially, have lost that sense of wonder, that excitement, that thrill you get when you turn the pages of a well-written book. In my reading room, I want to bring that back. I want to encourage people to slow down and read more; slow down and enjoy the simpler things. I want to encourage them to just be still, even for a moment.
And that's my vision for my reading room. Now it's just a matter of taking the steps to build it. Anyone else share the vision?
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
I'm quite excited, since I do need to work on my leadership skills. I've always been one to go with the flow, or strike out on my own. When I do have people under me, I tend to be too easygoing yet controlling (is that an oxymoron?--The Hubby's new word of the day).
To be discussed:
Purpose - September 29
Vision - October 6
Integrity - October 13
Government - October 20
Perseverance - October 27
Decisiveness - November 3
The great thing about this is it's absolutely free! Anyone can come, and you can join anytime (of course, it would be better to attend all). And Joey Bonifacio will be conducting the sessions. So that should be a treat. He's a great speaker and an astute businessman, so I'm sure we'll learn a lot.
If any of you want to join at any time, let me know. :)
Monday, September 26, 2005
Not just the Basic Membership that I was thinking about, the one that allowed up to 25 items posted, but a full Upgraded Membership that lets you post up to 250 pieces, plus lets you do a whole lot of other things. And this anonymous gift is good fo two months. Oh joy.
Of course, I also realized that it could be a marketing ploy--a sneaky way for them to entrap chennyboppers like me, making us taste the good life and forcing us to pay for membership when our current membership expires, because we discover that we can't go back to five items. Oh well. I don't care. I still appreciate the upgrade.
But now comes the pressure. Pressure, pressure, pressure. I now seriously have to write and produce material to post. What a waste of the 250-item space if I don't get at least half full. I have to really set aside time and effort to get out those brilliant stories swimming around my head, floating in my soul.
I need to be disciplined. I need to be focused and effective. I need to finish work so I won't feel guilty when I do non-work writing. I need help to do this, as by nature, I am a lazy bum.
Pressure, pressure, pressure. I need serious rehabilitation for creative writing muscles that have atrophied.
Speaking of gifts, my dad recently bought me a copy of Jonathan Kellerman's Twisted. And the Baby Seester bought me Kellerman's Therapy (which she will read before giving to me; I don't mind--I do the same to the books I give to her).
When you give, it just comes back! What a wonderful concept.
Monday, September 19, 2005
The only problem with the online portfolio is that for free memberships for chennyboppers like me, you can only post a maximum of 5 pieces. Which means whenever I have something new, I have to delete something. The paid membership starts at about $10 for three months. That allows me to post up to 25 pieces. Hmm. Is it worth it? Theoretically, posting your work there is supposed to get you helpful feedback to help you improve your writing, but does it really work? Will it really help my writing? Or is it just the satisfaction of getting read, and maybe getting an occasional ego-stroking (or bashing!)?
But 5 pieces severely limits me. Then again, have to really see if I can produce more than what I already have. Must really find time and discipline to write again.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
7 things that used to scare me:
- the dark
- all sorts of monsters and creepy creatures--from vampires to werewolves to ghosts to the botelyayo old ladies who walked around Baguio shouting "Botelyayo!" or something like that (they actually just wanted used old bottles, but my Aunt Candy would always tell me that they were there to get me if I didn't behave)
- my grandmother on my dad's side
- humiliation; looking stupid
7 things that scare me now: These days, things don't really 'scare' me, since I know where I'm going, and God is my posse. But these are still things I don't look forward to:
- looking stupid
- losing loved ones (even losing my dog makes me grieve!)
- not being a good wife or mother
- not fulfilling my purpose
- not knowing my purpose
- fountain pens. nice ballpens and pencils. and notebooks and lovely paper. and stationery
- dogs and most furry creatures (with the exception of most rodents)
- the beach and all that go with it--the sun, sand, sea, shakes and me as the ultimate bikini goddess
- great conversation, laughter
- music that matches my mood (can live without TV, but go nuts without the radio or CD player)
7 random facts about me
- I'm practically blind without my glasses, and I'm allergic to contact lenses
- I hate cigarette smoke. Detest. Abhor. Enough exposure will bring on an asthma attack.
- I had numerous puppies named "Cutie" when I was a kid--and they all died.
- I prefer what my dad calls "white people food" most of the time (pasta, bread and steaks!)
- I'm a crybaby. I cry when I'm happy, sad, lonely, mad, good, bad...
- I have to read. I read anything--books, magazines, can labels, signs, etc.
- I like to walk. Might be the Baguio girl in me. When I got to Manila, couldn't understand why people would ride a jeep or trike when they just had to go a couple of blocks down.
7 important things in my bedroom: Hmm. This is a hard one. I don't really keep much in the bedroom. Unless you count The Hubby as a thing.
- jewelry. What little I have anyway.
- more books.
- clothes I guess. But I desperately want to revamp my wardrobe.
- shoes. But I have only two serviceable pairs. I miss my Imeldific days! ;p
- toothbrush--in the master's bath that's in the bedroom. Can't stress how important this is!
- extension cord. The only portable, decent-looking one in the house.
- can't think of anything else!
7 things i plan to do before i die:
- go on a mission trip
- raise godly kids who will make a positive difference in this world
- get a master's degree in Creative Writing
- go to Europe with The Hubby. and South America, Asia, Australia...
- publish a book. At least one
- get a scuba diving license
- get a driver's license
7 things i can do:
- make soap, lotion, cologne
- cross stitch and knit
- convert Celcius to Fahrenheit and vice versa
- wrap gifts
7 things i can't do
- sing or do anything musical beyond turn on the radio and change the CD
- dance gracefully
- enjoy math problems
- sit still for long
- make a website from scratch. use graphics applications like Photoshop; layout applications like Freehand. Not yet anyway
- skillfully argue without losing control of my emotions. or bursting into tears. that's why I never went into law.
7 things that attract me to the opposite sex
- nice, clean smell. I particularly like the smell of soap, and light, sporty, water-y colognes
- eyes that can make you feel that you're the only girl in the world
- witty conversation
- sense of humor
- some special skill--cooking, playing an instrument, singing, dancing, whatever
7 things i say the most
- what you think?
- why...[fill in the blank]?
- what's to eat?
Friday, September 16, 2005
This pink Cattleya was mine since first year high school, and in it I had written six chapters of a Sweet Dreams-type of novel. In longhand.
Inserted in the pages were six loose-leaf sheets of detailed character sketches, complete with full names, nicknames, birthdays, likes, dislikes and class schedules. I also had all the names of the teachers per class. And the love ineterest and friends and enemies of all the major characters. Though my unfinished novel now makes me cringe, I could see the enthusiasm I had, filling up the 50 or so pages with my tiny, 0.5-mech-pencil-only handwriting.
I remember the joy of sharing the story with my friends, on whose lives my characters were loosely based. I remember how easy it was to get the ideas flowing. How easy it was to keep on writing. I remember...I remember that I wrote that without any goal in mind. Just the pleasure of getting the story out of my head and onto paper.
I remember and it makes me want to cry. Where has that enthusiastic, hopeful writer gone?
Yes, I now make my living as a 'writer'. But what kind? I write fluff for a living. I write on demand. I write the things that bring in money. I write whatever the client tells me to. I take their words and form them into something more readable. Their ideas, not mine. Their words, hardly any of mine.
And when I try to write for myself, when I try to get my stories out on paper--nothing. No words come out. I've forgotten how. And somehow, I die inside.
I know that writer--the one who writes without a care for grammar or sense or audience or approval or pay--is in here somewhere. Buried under deadlines and responsibilities and the need to always be perfect. I just don't know how to find her.
Maybe that's why I so desperately want to go back to school and earn my master's degree in Creative Writing. Maybe the discipline of having to write non-work will help me break free. Maybe being immersed in a world where you aren't selling anything in your writing will inspire me somehow.
I want to write.
I want to feel the sheer joy of words tumbling out effortlessly, forming themselves into delightful stories.
Where have I gone?
Saturday, September 10, 2005
When my tooth broke, I did what any mature 30-year old woman would do. I locked myself in the bathroom and called my mom. And grinning at myself in the mirror, I looked hideous. So I also burst into tears. I didn't want The Hubby to see me looking like a toothless hag. My mom finally convinced me to talk to The Hubby so we could look for a dentist.
So there I stood, staring at the poor, sleep-deprived Hubby, willing him into consciousness. He finally jolted awake. "I broke my tooth," I mumbled from behind the village phone book.
"What?" he sleepily and grumpily mumbled back.
"Broke my tooth."
"What? What? Let me see."
Let him see? No way! I didn't want to disillusion him this early in our marriage. So I mumbled some more behind the phone book while keeping away from the bed.
"Fine," he said and turned on his side to go back to sleep.
The outrage I felt! How could he not see that what I wanted was his assurance that he would still love me even if I looked like the wicked witch of the east? Couldn't he read my mind? So I slammed my way out of the room, stomped down, and sobbed quietly as I tried to look for a dentist.
A few minutes later, The Hubby came down. "Are you ready to talk properly?" he asked.
Well, if talking properly meant facing him without the cover of the phonebook which was now open before me, then I wasn't ready. So I just mumbled some more, with my back turned to him. I felt ugly, unlovable, stupid and thoroughly misunderstood and unwanted.
But I'm blessed with a husband who eventually gets it. Much later, he finally apologized for being insensitive, and we made up. We didn't really kiss, because it just felt too weird kissing without a tooth.
I was only able to go to the dentist on Monday. So till then I had this lisp, especially with the letters "B" and "V". Oh, and to add to my semi-misery, The Hubby's siblings came over for dinner Sunday night. I must have looked so strange, talking behind my hands all evening (much earlier in the day, though, I was telling The Hubby that I wished his family would come over more often--I just didn't expect my wish to be answered so soon!).
Then when I got to the dentist, she had to do a root canal (I cannot explain how much this terrifies me. I hate going to the dentist. The sound of the drill makes me break out in goosebumps. I'm such a wuss when it comes to pain). Then she said one of my dreaded fears--I needed a jacket on my tooth. I always dreamed of dying with a full set of natural teeth, and this ruined it all.
When I got the temporary jacket, it was too white. Now while I am not exactly happy with the not-so-white color of my teeth, I still would have wanted the fake one not to stick out like, well, a sore tooth. So it was another two days of talking without letting my lip go above my teeth-line, and trying not to smile in public. "Oh," said The Hubby, "you could glow in the dark!" Grr. Sometimes I wonder about his sense of humor.
Fortunately, the dentist made another temporary jacket that was more in the mother-of-pearl shade. So I can now talk normally and smile and laugh aloud.
And yes, The Hubby and I finally can kiss and make up properly.
He got lost on Sunday night, we got him back Thursday night. My cell group and even our pastor had been praying for him. Right after one of my cell group mates prayed for The Boo, I read the text message from someone saying that they had The Boo.
He had been with the family across the street, two houses down from us, the whole time. And, as I prayed for, he was loved and safe and sound--indoors. When we went to get him, he came trotting out of the house like he belonged there. I think he was almost sorry to be back home, since he still isn't allowed in the house.
Again, I am overwhelmed by the way God has orchestrated the whole thing. The Boo was picked up by that family, and not by anyone else. They adored him. Yet they were preparing to go house-to-house today to look for the people who lost their dog. We weren't able to make too many "Lost Dog" flyers, yet they got--and read--one. They loved Boo, and that was what I was praying for.
This is another testimony of God's faith, even in small things. Faith has always been a problem for me. Yes, I do trust God for my salvation, but for the smaller things, I always try to work it out myself, sometimes thinking that I shouldn't bother God with the petty details of my life. But God IS interested in the petty details of my life. And that's one amazing thing that I still am trying to digest.
Of course, his interest is not to be misconstrued as getting a carte blanche for everything I want. He still has his own plans that I can't even begin to comprehend. And that's the crucial thing--believing that he has the best planned for me, even through the hard times and problems. After all, having God in your life doesn't guarantee easy living. But it does give you something to hold on to. I guess faith is like a muscle. You have to work on building it, making it stronger. And God sends mini-trials like this to give you a faith workout.
Would I still feel the same way about faith if I didn't get The Boo back? It would take me some time to get it, I guess. But eventually, I would still put my faith in God.
One thing though, faith doesn't mean that we loll around waiting for miracles to happen to us. So while we trust God to continue to keep The Boo safe, The Hubby fixed the fence.
Monday, September 05, 2005
We lost The Boo again yesterday.
Same thing as last time. Big storm, major thunder and lightning. And for some strange reason in his addlepated half-brain, The Boo squeezed out the gate to look for comfort and security heaven knows where.
I was in church when the storm hit, and I was desperately praying that Boo still be there when we got back. But he wasn't.
I am drowning in rage. Rage against myself. I should have made The Hubby cover the fence with chickenwire. I should have done it myself. I should have gotten him a collar with my number and a "Reward for my return" note. I should have...I should have...Why didn't I? I don't know. I am filled with sorrow and anger and regret.
I'm trying to think what God is teaching me this time. Is it because I love Boo more than I respect The Hubby's authority on this matter? I have never totally accepted The Hubby's decision to keep Boo out during storms--I pout, I follow with a heavy heart, I constantly argue with The Hubby on this point.
Is it something more practical, like procrastination? Or rather dealing with procrastination. I should have fixed the fences right away, but there was always some excuse not to.
Or could it be that there is nothing to be learned this time? That it's really a faith thing. Having faith that God has better plans for everything, even for The Boo. It has to be. I have to have faith. Because I can't bear to think of the other alternatives.
I pray that wherever The Boo is, they love him as much I do. And that he's safe and sound indoors.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
The entire building is on a corner lot, so we have separate entrances. Even our street addresses are different. On our side of the street, it still looks like one huge house. Their floor-to-ceiling window is on our side of the yard. When we moved in, it freaked me out because I thought there was a mystery window that you can't see from inside the the house--with people that you can only see from the outside. Now the neighbors keep their blinds closed.
I think we have the better layout though. Our front is a small yard and garage, and our service area is in the back (so we don't have to air our dirty linen in public). The neighbor's service area, however, is an extension of their garage. If you walk by their street, you can see their laundry hanging in the garage. Not ideal. Imagine all the exhaust on fresh laundry!
And speaking of laundry, since our service areas are separated only by a cement wall about eight feet high, we can pretty much hear everything going on in each other's service areas. Which means, since we do laundry at the same time, we can hear when one's spin cycle ends and so on. Which means that I can hear all the music they play on their side of the world.
First on their laundry playlist is some good old Star FM. But thankfully, this is just the warm up. Soon they move on to classic Air Supply. Now I admit to growing up with Air Supply. So I know that there are two less lonely people in the world, and that you can make love out of nothing at all. After the entire Air Supply concert series, they start to play Bob Dylan reminiscing about this house on in New Orleans, that they called the rising sun. Next, Rainbow tells of how one day in the year of the fox, there was this guy searching, seeking, and he ends up in the temple of the king. Then the grand finale: Tom Jones wailing why, why, why Delilah.
This is their playlist. Every. Single. Week. I can tell how far along their laundry they are by what song is playing. I tried playing my own music, but my musical posse always gets drowned out. I once briefly considered going over to ask them to tone down their music, or at least change it. I thought of sending over a paper plane with a note made of letters torn out from different papers, ransom style, "If you know what's good for you, you will cease to play such music..."
Finally, one Sunday, I couldn't stand it. I just couldn't.
I started singing along. Forgive me Delilah, I just couldn't take anymore.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
I don't even remember why I started boxing. I just know that after one session in the ring, I shelled out money for my 12 oz gloves, wraps, and a membership at Red Corner. Then for some reason, I transferred to The Spa at RCBC Plaza (now Fitness First Plus), got into the kickboxing/street defense class--and discovered I had a violent streak.
I can't describe how good it feels to hit something. When I hear the thwack of my gloves on the pad or bag, when I feel the dull pain on my knuckles and the jarring force travel down my arm, when I feel whatever I'm hitting give a little--it's sheer release. Exhilirating.
Then there's the mental workout I get. I have to react quickly. I have to calculate my next move. I have to duck. This part, admittedly, needs more work. I have always been on the slow reflex side, since my tendency is to analyze and break down the situation before I do anything (which is why, I think, I don't make an excellent driver).
Three minutes of actual sparring is more exhausting than three minutes of padding because thinking of your strategy--to score without getting knocked out--burns hundreds of calories (disclaimer: this is my personal theory only). Then you have to act out your strategy. Or at least attempt to.
Fear also burns calories. Everytime I go spar with someone, I'm scared of getting hit. Sure we have body armor and gloves. And we aren't allowed to hit above the neck. But what happens if you duck the wrong way? This happened to a good friend of mine--he bobbed right into my jab. Broke his nose. I feel guilty about that; though in an evil sort of way, it felt good too, the realization that I had the power to do such damage.
Not that I come out unscathed. I know what it feels like to have my breath knocked out of me, thanks to a jab-straight to my chest and a front kick to my stomach. I've had roundhouse kicks to my un-armored sides. I have flown across the room, wiping the floor with my butt. I have also walked around with shoeprint bruises on my arms and legs.
I guess that's one reason I enjoy contact kickboxing. I'm a wuss when it comes to pain. So sparring lets me face my fear head on. You feel the pain, but you shake it off and fight on. To sort of steal a line from Kenny Rogers, there'll be time enough for cryin' when the match is done.
Sometimes I think, when the actual need for punching someone comes up (no, this does not apply to The Hubby; I think it's in our marriage contract somewhere--he made sure), will I be able to do it? Will I be able to remember the right combinations? Or will I freeze? Though I can't imagine being in that situation, I hope I kick ass like Charlie's Angels, Sydney of Alias, Lara Croft and Mrs. Smith. And I want to look as good too.
Today, after I did my drills, practised some combinations, and drove The Boo crazy with the punch bag (he kept running around me, looking for the enemy), I felt so good. I know I'll be in pain tomorrow, but the exhiliration is back.
Anyone want to start a kickboxing class with me here in Merville?
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
We've been having some cash flow glitches lately, and a couple of weeks ago was the worst. For two people used to buying things at will, The Hubby and I were in new territory. He'd gas up P100 at a time. I hunted down loose change around the house before I could go to the neighborhood grocery. We had to prioritize and reprioritize which bills were to be paid first.
Then we had that Extra Challenge/Survivor thing: Five Days. Fifteen Meals. Two Hundred Pesos. Will they make it? Stay tuned!
Well okay. It wasn't that bad. We didn't have to buy basics like rice, and I still had some leftover tomato sauce and cheese; and we had some cereal and milk in the house, which took care of the two breakfasts. And The Hubby didn't eat lunch at the house for two days. And we skipped dinner and just went to sleep once. So that's still about 10 meals.
The first challenge was to decide what to buy. We ended up with:
- Baguio beans
- small, tiny tin of mushroom pieces
- half a stick of butter
- 1/2kg ground pork
Then next was deciding what to cook. I think this part was the most fun. Made me cook creatively. And the best part was, The Hubby HAD to eat everything I prepared. He had no choice! I came up with:
- adobong sitaw with ground pork
- some kalabasa with ginger recipe of The Hubby, which didn't turn out too well, since the only ginger I was able to locate in the house was a shriveled little piece
- okra with tomatoes
- ginisang beans with tomatoes and some ground pork
- eggplant parmigiana
- tortang talong with ground pork
- tomato omelet (turned out rather nicely!)
- dill potato soup with--surprise!--ground pork - this was a surprising hit; a hearty soup that's a meal in itself, and super easy to prepare (actually all the stuff I made are idiotically easy to prepare)
- cheese omelet
- fried eggs
The amazing thing was (aside from the fact I didn't lose weight, despite the fact there was no more junk food in the house), through all that, we always had just enough. The Hubby had enough gas money to get him to wherever he had to be. There was enough money to buy food. And pay some of the more urgent bills. And though things were tight, we never felt poor. Broke, yes. Poor, no.
I felt like one of those Israelites wandering around the desert. When they woke up in the morning they got manna, just enough for their needs. And on special days, they got the Old Testament version of spring chicken. For water, Moses just needed to speak to some rock. They knew that God wouldn't put them through all the drama of leaving Egypt just to let them starve in the desert.
I guess that's the real challenge. Having the faith that God will provide for our needs (note to self: want radically different from need). Because he really does. It may not come in the form that we want or expect, but I know that God is always looking out for me. He will always provide.
Actually that's the one thing that God tells us we can challenge him on--provisions (try challenging him on anything else, you might end up zapped!). And The Hubby and I are taking God up on this challenge. We are. We pray that he gives us more than enough. Beyond what we ever could think for ourselves. Then we could just pass on the excess to others who need it.
That's the next challenge.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Friday, July 15, 2005
In between that, I also spent the day fielding calls from my client who so nicely told me that I could stay home that day to turn 30 in peace, and then proceeded to load me with tons of work.
The Hubby decided to work at home as well, to keep me company as I turned 30. So we spent most of the day sitting across each other at the dining table, furiously typing away on our respective laptops. I suppose we could've played footsie to make it more romantic, but it completely slipped our minds.
I barely recall what what we had for lunch--if we did have lunch--but I won't forget dinner. Because The Hubby cooked for me. Aww. Next year, I will tell him that he can also wash the dishes, instead of leaving them in the sink for me to wash the next morning. Nevertheless, I was thrilled.
It was pretty close to an ideal turning-30 day.
In the perfect world, I would have woken up to breakfast in bed, with no chores to do. None at all. Then clients would all tell me, "It's your day. Go ahead and do what you want; we're moving all deadlines. Here's a bonus, no strings attached." No planes would be flying over, and cars and trikes would pass a different route. The sun would be shining, and crisply cool Baguio-type wind would be blowing. I'd be on the white-canvas-and-wood Lonely Planet rocking chair out on the balcony, catching up on my reading, dogs would be asleep by my feet. Then, when the Muse pays me a visit, I'd boot up my laptop and type out perfect story after story.
In this world that we do live in, the only things I cranked out were articles-on-spec, proposals and letters. I still had to get breakfast (which is why I so loved The Hubby for making dinner). The dogs were still not allowed in the house. Merville will never ever come close to Baguio's crisp air. The world noisily rushed by with no respect for the aging.
But, The Hubby was with me all day. People who really mattered called or texted to greet me. The sun was shining. I took a nap--without guilt--in the middle of the day. And most of all, I am alive.
I am overwhelmed by gratefulness and awe. Thank you Lord for my life.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Now, I sort of get to live the biker chick thing vicariously, through my babe of a sister, Rix. She recently bought herself a motorcycle. Not a kickass one yet, but a typical, practical bike. I tease her that she might be mistaken for a messenger, but so far, people seem to know that it's a girl driving her bike.
Couple of nights ago, I finally had the chance to ride with Rix on her bike. She picked me up in Galleria, for a sisterly ride home to her apartment in Pasay, where I would wait for The Hubby to pick me up. This was an impulse ride, so I was totally unprepared. For my next ride, I don't think I'd wear stilleto mules, a semi low-cut blouse (it had long sleeves though) and capris. I got toe cramps from clinging to my shoes.
Conversation with Rix right before the ride:
Rix: Ok, here's your helmet.
Me: Um...how do I put it on? (Note: this isn't as dumb as it sounds; I was wearing glasses)
I put on helmet over glasses, the latter get knocked off. I take off glasses and put on helmet, then attempt to wear glasses through the face plate. Won't work. I take off the helmet, put on glasses, hold glasses in place, then put on helmet again. Glasses become part of my head, but at least helmet is on.
Rix: (all through out helmet wearing session) Hehehehe.
Me: When you stop in traffic, do I put down my feet?
Me: When you turn, do I balance the bike?
Rix: No! Go with the flow.
Me: Any other tips?
Rix: Don't make sudden moves.
Me: What if there's a bee on me?
Rix: Stay very still.
Me: Does mom know we're doing this?
Rix: Get on.
You know when you're in a car, and some biker weaves his way through the cars, and you look out your window, a bit freaked because the bike seems too close for comfort? Well, it's worse on a bike.
I could actually feel the buses and trucks breathing down our necks. Without turning my head, I simply knew if there was a bus beside us. And you can hear the pure unadulterated honks sans filtering through the car windows. Each time a bus or a car honked at us, I felt like jumping, except that Rix said not to make any sudden moves. I wanted to yell at the cars, buses, pedestrians and anything that moved, "Get out of the way!!!!!" I was glad that my main view from the back of the bike was the back of Rix's head (I didn't want to lean out to far to enjoy the view, in case that disrupted the balance of the bike). Imagine how it would be if I had an unobstructed view of where we were going.
I also felt like the Princess and the Pea. I could feel every pothole, every hump, every tiny pebble on the road. I swear. I felt it way down into my marrow. I had a slight headache when Rix picked me up. By Buendia, my brains were rattled and knocked all around my skull, exacerbating my headache. I almost got bike-sick. I was really thankful that I didn't have to pee.
But once I got used to the ride, I started to enjoy it. The cool wind was whistling through my helmet. The view a little past Rix's helmet was a different perspective. I even managed to pry a hand at a time from its death grip on Rix's jacket to fix my helmet and adjust my glasses.
We finally got to the apartment. Rix dislodged me, shaky-kneed, and windblown, while she went to park the bike next door. Inside the yard, I discovered that I forgot to ask Rix how to take the helmet off. I couldn't figure out where the unlock clasp was. I struggled with it for several minutes, trying to look like I did this everyday, while the neighbors watched. I finally gave up, and decided to scrounge around for the keys instead, so I could wait for Rix to help me with the helmet inside the privacy of the apartment. Try looking for keys in the dark, with your head sort of flopping around from the helmet, without looking stupid.
When Rix came, I was sitting on the couch, watching TV with my helmet on. A portrait of the ultimate biker chick.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Since I came down to Manila for high school, I sort of lost touch with that side of me that likes to cook. However, now that I'm married, and officially in charge of putting something edible--and hopefully enjoyable--on the table, I've been reviving my cooking skills (yes, dear Hubby, I can too cook ;p).
My favorite recipes so far are the ones that require minimal ingredients (five or less) and even more minimal preparation. That's why I love my toaster oven recipes. I have about three so far, and this is the simplest.
Enough with the intro. This is good for one meal for two people, and can be cooked in a smallish toaster oven.
- toaster oven/Turbo Broiler/Oven
- toaster-able pan (I use those ceramic ones that come in the woven basket, so out of the oven and straight onto the table)
- 1 large eggplant or two small ones
- butter or margarine (if you're cutting from a regular sized-block of butter, an inch-thick slice would do). Health buffs can use olive oil instead, I suppose, Haven't tried.
- 4 to 5 cloves of garlic (add more or less, depending on how garlicky you want it)
- grated cheese (I used edam, but any hard cheese would do, even Eden; quantity depends on how cheesy you want it, but I guess half a cup would be ok
- salt & pepper to taste
1. Slice the eggplant diagonally (dunno if they cook better this way, they just look nicer).
2. Arrange on the pan, preferably in a single layer (if your toaster and pan are really small, you can layer the eggplant rounds, but make sure you layer the cheese and butter as well)
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Peel and crush the garlic.
5. Add garlic to softened butter or margarine (you can make this garlic-butter mix the day before; it's also good for garlic bread, and for putting on veggies) and mix very well.
6. Add grated cheese to butter-garlic mix.
7. Spread the butter mix on top of the eggplant rounds. Sprinkle extra cheese on top.
8. Put the pan in the toaster and bake for about 25 minutes. Cooking time depends on your toaster. So for the first time you cook this, you might want to keep on eye on it.
9. When the cheese topping is nicely browned, and the eggplants are soft and tender and kinda see-through, it's done.
10. Serve immediately. Goes well with rice.
The Hubby liked this one, so I consider it a success. Good alternative to tortang talong.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Other than the fact that my haircut took more than two hours, since every snip was subject to Python's (and Alvin, the other senior stylist, whose specialty, apparently, was blowdrying) scrutiny, it wasn't such a terrifying experience. It was actually liberating.
For over a year, I had been growing my hair for my wedding. And for the first time in my life, my hair was past the bra-strap mark. But I have absolutely no patience to fix my hair. I like wash-and-wear hair. I cannot blowdry, plait, twist or do anything French with my hair. The most I will do is brush it, and ponytail it. This at least has two variations: high and low. On really, really special occasions, however, I will crouch in front of a fan and shake my hair dry.
The heat of the past months made my hair unbearably heavy, hot and unbelievably annoying. No matter how neatly I tied it back, some strands would always manage to escape, totally irritating me by hanging around my face and tickling my nose or poking my eye. Plus I felt that I was going bald! Between the strands on my pillow in the morning, and the strands that came out in the shower, plus whatever got stuck in the brush, I felt I had enough hair to make a wig.
When Mich said that she needed a few guinea pigs--I mean models--I was only too willing to chop everything off.
I like my new hair. I think it suits me. Now the only problem is, for the life of me, I cannot fix my hair. Mich et al said to apply some 'product' and--to quote them directly--"ganyan-ganyanin mo lang, o," (loosely translated, just do whatever). So far, my "ganyan-ganyanin" has produced some freaky Einstein-inspired 'do; an overdosed-on-product-do-you-ever-think-of-washing-your-hair-icky-oily-limp-hair 'do; a let's-all-curl-in-this-direction-no matter-what-direction-we're-being-styled do; and an I-give-up-fine-do-whatever 'do.
So far I've gotten the most compliments for the last style.
Lopping off at least two kilos of hair has simplified my mornings. I now just get out of the shower, and, since I have declared myself hopelessly un-fasyon, leave my hair to dry at will. This produces interesting results--none of which will ever come close to what my hair looked like when I left Franck Provost, wonderfully whipped into shape by Mich and Python.
As for the falling hair on the pillow and shower, since The Hubby and I have about the same length of hair now, I just blame it all on him.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
But it wasn't meant to be.
We parted ways amicably. I wished them well. I wanted that magazine to come out spectacularly. After all, that was my title, my tagline. My ideas were melded with it; part of me is in that magazine, no matter what happened.
It's finally out, a bit early, actually. And it looks good. Of course, the editor in me can't help but nitpick. But for a first issue, I have to say it's a good job. I have mixed emotions though. I'm happy for them. And I'm happy that I was part of the starting up. But--big but here, and I'm not refering to my own--I also feel this terrible disappointment.
I worked on it. Hard. And I'm not even part of it now. And my ego is hurting terribly. I can feel this huge lump in my chest. It's heavy and choking me up. Because deep, deep down, there's this part of me that wanted them to fail. Spectacularly.
I recently read about David, how he so wanted to build the grandest temple for God. But being a warrior king, he was tainted with the blood of his enemies, and God did not want a man of war to build his temple. God told David that it would be his son, Solomon, who would build it.
Did David stomp off in a huff? No. He said, "Ok, Lord. Whatever you say," and he went on to make the plans and gather the materials--for the temple that he wanted to build but could not; for the temple that would not even be credited to his name.
I pray that's how I react. With obedience and grace.
Lord, let me be like David. Let me swallow my pride. Because I know you have something greater planned for me. And that's all the sugar I need.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
She joined us a few minutes before the pizza arrived--short-legged and very, very massive. Her head alone was bigger than my thigh, hence a rather considerable size. She was squat and wide, and obviously a mommy. She was a yellow labrador, and she belonged to Cocomangas.
"Hey doggie!" my sisters called, and she ambled over without a fuss. After we all had patted her head, she bounded away, then quickly returned, plastic bottle--her beach find--in mouth. Her huge body was a mass of excitement, though she still managed to maintain her dignity. Not so for her pale yellow puppy, who was a bundle of uncontained exuberance.
She presented the bottle to me for a game of fetch. I threw the bottle a pathetic distance, and she trotted out to retrieve. Alexis (the waitress called her "Ah-lik-ses"), or Lexi as we began to call her, was an equal-opportunity dog. She gave the bottle to Ro and Rix in turn before wandering off for a dip and a game of bottle-tug with Puppy.
When we left Cocomangas, we playfully called Lexi to come with us. To our amazement, she lumbered along, keeping perfect pace, acting for all the world like she was our dog. We went in for a dip and she followed, her short-legged doggy paddle and her so-serious face kept us laughing (except when she accidentally clipped me with a gigantic paw, leaving scratches that turned into bruises the next day). When we walked back to Pearl, Lexi turned in back at Cocomangas.
The next day, at about the same time, Lexi came out of Cocomangas. We called and she came, loping along--from Cocomangas all the way past Station One, all the way to D'Mall. She went in and out the shops with us, sitting and waiting outside when she wasn't allowed in.
Rix and Ro gave her mineral water--she licked it out of cupped hands. At Red Coconut, she drank milk and ice from our scuba mask, then happily slurped whatever was leftover from our halo-halo glasses (I do hope they washed the glasses well!). She was with us back and forth on the beach till dinner at Caribo (home of the best sinigang and the island's biggest shakes). She sat beside Ro and beseechingly looked up at her. Ro 'accidentally' dropped food from her plate, but apparently, Ms. Alexis does not eat off the floor and had to be hand-fed.
Walking back to Pearl, we had to walk Lexi back into Cocomangas, otherwise she would have come with us all the way to Pearl. We all felt that Lexi loved our company best.
Three days later, we were at Station 2, in Jommel's at D'Mall (among all the shakes on the island, theirs was the most expensive--and nothing even spectacular about it) when a group of kids--the exotically brown and beautiful ones that you know have got to be from a mix of races--came in, followed by Lexi. Lexi came over when called, allowed her head to be patted, then quickly walked back to that group of little girls.
I suddenly didn't feel special. "At least she's loyal to whatever group she's with at the moment," said mom.
"Whose dog is this?" asked the waitress.
"Mine," said the most exotic of the girls (sitting at the restaurant table, with one leg drawn up, you could almost tell what her mother looked like). and Lexi happily sat down beside her, wagging her tail.
Oh well. At least Lexi was 'our' dog for a couple of days.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
The Ship Virgin Mary, en route to Boracay. April 26, 2004
You can feel the ship tilting underneath you. We decided to go tourist class, and though this isn't bad, maybe the few hundred bucks extra for deluxe is worth it. Mom is in her element though, making friends left and right. For those who can't tolerate the crowd and crying babies, it's best to ante up for a cabin. Forty two rows times eight bunks equals a lot of people.
Families indian-sit on their bunks, eating out of Tupperware and microwaveables (you can never get away from rice!). Cans of biscuits, bags of food and boxes of appliances occupy half the bunks sometimes, sharing space with people all curled up underneath towels, sheets and jackets, their legs thrown over suitcases. If they aren't asleep, then they stare up at the ceiling or at the bottom of the bunk overhead. The lights never go out, yet it is never bright enough for the lower bunks, which are so low that you can sit up and bonk your head.
I heard that it's so much hotter in the economy section, with no aircon at all. I guess that's why people prefer to sleep on newspapers and cardboard along the slightly airconditioned hallways; and in the lounges where signs clearly state "No Sleeping". There are also signs that say Cabin Class or Economy Class or Deluxe Class--people classified according to how much money they shelled out.
It's a wonder that anyone gets to sleep, with the lights, the constant hum of conversation, coughing, non-stop flow of people drifting by, and crowing of roosters with warped sense of time. People, on the other hand, have a warped sense of space. You have complete strangers sitting on your bunk, engrossed in enthusiastic conversation with your across-the-aisle-bunk-neighbor. And feet and other body parts constantly cross bunk boundaries. If you don't position yourself correctly, you could end up playing footsie--or worse, smelling footsie.
Shoes are a sort of quandry. Do you not take them off? Take them off and keep them in the bunk with you? Or take them off and keep them under the bunk where they could get kicked, even stolen? Or what if the ship rolls and they slide off into oblivion? And if you're on the top bunk, it's worse. Technically, you don't have any space on the floor--how would you ever keep an eye on them, unless you hung over the edge of the bunk, terrorizing your under-bunk neighbor?
Across the sea of bunks and people, perhaps the most noticeable things you see are feet. And if you're unlucky, you can smell it too. All sorts of shapes, sizes and conditions--from the wide, toes-far-apart variety to the cracked-heel-and-soles to the pristine, to the gaudily pedicured.
How much of a person's life can you tell from their feet? Is Gaudy Pedicure a housewife who does her own pedicure in between dishes and laundry and cooking; who perhaps owns a single bottle of nail polish? Did Pampered Feet splurge her last paycheck on a foot spa, hence stuck in the tourist section?
At any rate, I can't wait for my own feet--slightly dry but nicely pedicured, thanks to the ship's sole (pun intended) manicurista--to sink into the powder white sand of Boracay.
Bare feet and Boracay. Perfect.
Post your own list! Should be fun.
THREE NAMES YOU GO BY:
THREE SCREEN NAMES YOU HAVE HAD:
THREE PHYSICAL THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
1. hair color
THREE PHYSICAL THINGS YOU DON'T LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
1. abs area
2. hips area
3. facial skin
THREE PARTS OF YOUR HERITAGE:
3. possibly some Chinese
THREE THINGS THAT SCARE YOU:
2. looking stupid
THREE OF YOUR EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS:
1. laptop/PC with internet connection
2. cell phone
3. cold drinking water
THREE THINGS YOU ARE WEARING RIGHT NOW (am in full pambahay couture today!):
1. red sleeveless tank
2. dark green board shorts (yes Christmas theme)
3. super old tsinelas
THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE BANDS OR MUSICAL ARTISTS:
3. Rob Thomas & Matchbox 20
THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE SONGS (actually I love lots of songs—but top of my head, these were the songs from my wedding):
1. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
2. You Are the Sunshine of My Life
3. Take My Breath Away
THREE THINGS YOU WANT IN A RELATIONSHIP:
1. same commitment to God
2. sense of humor
TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order):
1. I am a fabulous cook
2. I adore my dogs
3. I read everything—from books to bottle labels
THREE PHYSICAL THINGS ABOUT THE PREFERRED SEX THAT APPEAL TO YOU:
1. eyes that can make you feel like you’re the only person that matters
2. smells clean
3. looks clean, even if he’s rugged
THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES:
2. buy magazines and books
3. re-read things I’ve already read, except that I go straight to my favorite parts
THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO REALLY BADLY RIGHT NOW:
1. nothing. Absolutely nothing. As in.
2. go to the beach for a month
3. have a complete Queer Eye type life makeover (just the surface stuff—I love my life now)
THREE CAREERS YOU'RE CONSIDERING/YOU'VE CONSIDERED:
1. doctor: surgeon or psychiatrist
3. but my ultimate career goal when I was a kid was to be a salesgirl in National Bookstore
THREE PLACES YOU WANT TO GO ON VACATION:
1. Caribbean Islands
2. Latin America
THREE KID'S NAMES YOU LIKE (when I was a kid I so desperately wished that I had been named “Strawberry Pie”):
1. Gaibrial Alsander
2. Tamara Ysanne
THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE:
1. write a book
2. travel around the world
3. leave a legacy
THREE WAYS THAT YOU ARE STEREOTYPICALLY A BOY:
1. I eat a lot
2. I like action movies
3. I like beating up people—in a ring.
THREE WAYS THAT YOU ARE STEREOTYPICALLY A GIRL:
1. I like romance
2. I love kikay things
3. I’m a crybaby
THREE CELEB CRUSHES:
1. Brad Pitt
2. Edward Norton
3. Piolo Pascual (we have a picture together! Heehee)
Thursday, June 23, 2005
These days, I just don't seem to have the drive to do any income-generating work (I still have the drive for income-expending though). I sit at my laptop with a list of tasks, and my mind wanders. I think about what's for dinner. I strategize the best laundry routine. I think about world peace. Then I think about feeding the fish. So I stand up and go feed the fish. The dogs see me feed the fish, and they come up for some attention. So I pet the dogs and roughhouse with them a little. I check on their food and water bowls. Then I pet the dogs again. Back at my laptop, I check all my email. Whenever a message has a link, I click on the link. Then I start surfing. I'm thinking, "In five minutes, I start working," and before I know it, an hour has passed. And I promise I'll start working, but then it's already time to prepare dinner. Where did the time go?
I don't know what's wrong with me. I lack focus. My self-discipline, which was never admirable to begin with, is completely shot. The Hubby has been picking up the slack for me, working on more and more projects as I bring in less and less income, without cutting down on my expenses. I am so lethargic. Sometimes I border on apathy.
I know The Hubby is frustrated with me. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets resentful. He checks up on me: "So, what did you work on today?" And I get so defensive and my hackles rise. Then suddenly I'm spoiling for a fight.
I need help.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
So far, he still has leptospirosis but his kidneys are starting to function (he now pees!). He still has UTI, but his pnemonia and fever are gone. His eyes are still pus-y, but he's bright-eyed again. The vet is optimistic, but has warned me about the symptoms of distemper, which Boo also has. Sometimes dogs recover and seem great for about three days, before they go back into another decline. So I'm keeping faith that God will see Boo through total wellness.
Boo needs his meds administered via IV, so we'll be keeping him at the vet's another week or so. We won't be able to give him the round-the-clock attention he needs at the moment, so am so glad The Hubby agreed to keep him at the vet's, despite the expense.
Now we just have to raise funds for the Save The Boo Foundation. But again, I trust that God will keep providing.
I'm just so happy that Boo is getting better.
Monday, June 13, 2005
For me, going grocery is not a matter of zipping through the aisles getting the stuff you need. When done properly, going grocery is therapy. I start at the far end of the grocery, the side opposite the frozen/raw stuff. Then I push my cart up and down each and every aisle. I even pass through the aisles that have nothing I remotely need, like the diapers and baby milk section. Very Zen.
I enjoy looking at the variety. I enjoy comparing products and prices, making sure you get the best value for your money. And I like the challenge of making purchases fit in a predetermined budget (though I 'd like it better to shop without a care for the budget. When I'm rich, I will barrel into a grocery sans calculator and get what I want. Now that's a goal). I like the satisfaction of crossing things off my shopping list (and I like the inherent sneakiness of buying things that are not in the list, and then adding the item to the list after, and still crossing it out).
I miss going grocery with my sister Rix. Since we're both too big to fit in the cart, we make do with balancing on the front end of the cart while the other one pushes. And if there are not too many people around, we also enjoy testing the road-worthiness of the cart, zipping down the aisles, executing sudden turns and stops. If there's major traffic in the aisles, we content ourselves cracking an imaginary whip at whoever is pushing while calling out, "Shum! Shum!" (the opposite of Mush! Mush!, since we're facing the wrong direction).
Another thing I miss about going grocery with Rix is the innate silliness of it all. I remember smelling the Rexona Powder Scent Deodorant everytime we went to the store, and agreeing each time that it smelled awful. But that didn't stop us from smelling it again next time. Or the time that she begged me to buy monggo seeds--so we could grow our own bean sprouts--from aisle 7 to aisle 32. I finally gave in, and the resulting sprouts were subsequently eaten by a mouse.
Riding on the grocery cart is perhaps one thing that The Hubby wouldn't be caught dead doing. And like most males, he can't understand the logic of going through each aisle. And so far when we do go grocery, there's a bit of quibbling as we work out compromises on taste, preferences, likes and dislikes. But with each grocery trip we work it out.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
So far, Boo refuses to eat. Or drink. The Hubby and I tried everything--bones, meat, vegetables, sugar, toyo, cake--but Boo refuses to even smell the food. Had to give him some-sugar-and-salt water via syringe. Not good at all.
There are two vets in the village. One established one who comes pretty well-recommended by my old vet in Pasay, and this new guy who just out up his clinic three months ago (but he's been in practice for the past 10 years). Deciding factors were 1) the new guy does home service for free; and 2) the new guy is cheaper. I'm glad I called the the new vet.
He seems really nice, and concerned with the dogs. He's got a great bedside manner, so to speak. And for all that he did, he charged me a reasonable amount. Plus when he came back to give Boo another dose, he just charged me the cost of the dope. He also quoted extremely reasonable grooming rates. But will reserve final judgement till The Boo gets better.
And I pray that Boo gets better now. Aside from the added (and unplanned!) expense, I hate seeing The Boo so un-Boo-like.
Boo, please get better!
Monday, June 06, 2005
He isn't his usual lively self. He doesn't want to eat. When you call him, instead of bounding over as he usually does, he just slowly wags his tail from wherever he happens to be lying down. Or if he will stand, it's just to change sleeping positions. I tried giving him sugar water, but he'd only lick it from my finger, and not from the bowl (and Boodie loves sugar--or any food for that matter). Chloe swiped his favorite bone from him and he just gave her a sad look.
That's the most heart-wrenching thing. The Boo is the happiest dog I know. He's joy in doggie form. And when Boo is a Sad Boo, then something must be wrong. The Hubby says he may just lack sleep, since last night was a horrible downpour. And Boo can't sleep much when it's raining hard.
We'll see if he has any improvements today. If not, will take him to the vet tomorrow.
I need to find a way to help Boo during the rainy season. This isn't good.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
There are different schools of thought when it comes to married-life money. Some believe that the couple should divide the expenses, and each takes care of his or her particular set of bills. Some believe that you should pool together some of the money, and keep some for yourself. Some believe that only one person should handle the money, and should give the spouse an allowance. The Hubby and I sort of combined all. We pool our money theoretically, but keep it in the account that is more practical. We give each other allowances, depending who has money in their wallet at the moment. Admittedly, that's usually The Hubby these days.
This is major adjustment for me, making money that isn't mine alone. Even my regular tithing is already a joint venture. But when The Hubby is worrying about things like making the rent, car payments and insurance premiums, how can you possibly justify Single-Girl-Days essentials like the monthly P500 magazine fix, P300 manicure/pedicure, P600 full body wax (which is a definite bargain at that price) or the CPK-salad-as-a-reward-for-buying-only-one-book?
But for all the worry about how to manage it, how to make it, how to spend it and how to save it, the funny thing is, money isn't really ours. Like the rest of the stuff in our lives, it's just something that God owns and lets us watch over while we're here. It's just a question of how well we manage it. Managing it well is a sign of obedience and respect to the one who provides.
And if money management was a test from God, at this point I'd barely pass it. Maybe that's why he gave me The Hubby. So I could learn a thing or two or three about responsible moneyhood. Much as I hate doing the budget or thinking beyond this week, this payday or this bill, it's necessary. It's discipline. And that's something I could always use more of.
So show me the money, Lord. And I'll show you someone who tries hard to walk in your ways.
Monday, May 30, 2005
Now the only problem is, dogs are not allowed inside the house. The Hubby and I agreed that they get deluxe accomodations outside the house, but they are not allowed to set paw inside (the dogs were mine before we got married). So when a storm comes, it's a battle of wills as Boo insists on coming in and we insist on putting him back out. Our first few storms almost made me cry, actually. Since Boo has always been an indoor dog, I suppose in his addlepated brain, he can't understand why he can't come in. I know he's terrified, and only wants some comfort and security, but I have to be firm that the dogs can't come in. It isn't easy for both of us.
Last Friday was the worst storm we've had, and the longest one too. Boo was in full blown panic, so I was going to sit outside on the lanai with him. I closed the french doors to keep him out while I went to get a book, and while I shut down the laptop and PC. He was desperately clawing at the door and I was desperately steeling my heart against him.
Then--blackout. Total darkness, save for the flashes of lightning. By the time I got out the candles and the miniscule flashlight, The Boo had disappeared. I looked for him everywhere. Difficult in total darkness with a pipitsugin flashlight, coupled with the flashes of lighting that blind you momentarily. I tried calling for him till I was hoarse, and I went out in the rain out front and the sides of our house--he was really gone.
I felt horrible.
When The Hubby came back at about midnight, the power was back on and the rain had stopped. We walked around the neighborhood, with our other dog Chloe, who obviously has no future as a tracking dog. No Boodie.
The next day, I hoped that when I got up, Boo would be scratching at the french doors, but it was just a sad-faced Chloe who greeted me. I went around the neighbors' houses, the nearby sari-sari stores, the grocery and meat shop, putting the word out. The Hubby and I drove around for another hour, backtracking and crisscrossing our regular haunts. No Boodie.
I texted my close friends and family, asking them to help pray that The Boo come back safe and sound. And I was really praying. We finally had to put off our Boo hunt, since we had guests coming over, and we had to cook.
At about 3PM, the doorbell rang and two men--village tricycle drivers--asked if we lost a small white dog. They had found one the night before on Rome (that's like 10 blocks down! On Boodie scale, probably 100km), and it was almost swept away by the torrent on the street. Thank God we had reported The Boo's loss to the village security immediately, so when the men had asked the office if anyone was missing a dog, security pointed them in the right direction.
The Boo looked a bit shell shocked (he doesn't bark much now, and he has nightmares), but still ok. The men said that their neighbors were offering to buy Houdi from them for P5,000 but they still decided to look for the owner first.
Thank God for people like that. Thank God for friends and family concerned enough to pray for you and a beloved dog. Thank God for watching over a dog. Thank God for impeccable timing. Thank God that he's the God of all--even small, lost dogs.
Thank you, Lord.
I was out Saturday night, and The Hubby was left home with the dogs. There was another terrible thunderstorm and I was worried about Boo. When I got home, only Chloe greeted me at the gate. No Boo! I was starting my own panic attack. Then The Hubby called out from upstairs, "The Boo's up here."
I was amazed. Not only did The Hubby allow Boodie Boo inside the house, but he let him sleep inside the most sacred of all rooms--the airconditioned home office.
"What about Chloe?" I asked.
"Chloe can't fit through the gate." And that was that.
These are the times that I fall in love with The Hubby all over again.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
A week's worth of outfits for me and The Hubby equals a whole day of doing laundry. And I do mean the whole day--sometimes into the night too. It's not that we change outfits like models in a fashion show (I wish). It's just that I'm a slow laundrywoman.
My mom has trained me well. I recycle water in between cycles. For example, the first rinse of one batch gets to be the soap water of the second batch. The Downy rinse of another batch is the first rinse of the next batch...plus I spin rinse all batches to really wring the soap out, so I can minimize the number of rinses. I cringe at the thought of fully automated washing machines. Think of all the water wasted!
I've been refining my methods to make laundry more efficient. To save on travel time between the house and the service area in the back, I've set up my laptop in the service area. Thank God for wireless internet! I make sure that I have all the equipment needed even before I begin. And I recently discovered this amazing secret, on how to make sure I finish the laundry early. It's so simple really. To finish early, I now start early. Yes. Such a revolutionary idea.
Goodbye weekend sleep-ins though.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Making an omelet is simple. All you need are eggs, things to put inside, a decent pan, and a pleasing personality. Follow these easy steps:
1. Ask your husband what he wants for breakfast. Hope that it's something exotic, like toast and jam.
2. Wake up extra early to make omelet and fried rice (separate recipe for fried rice--maybe next entry).
1. Remember that your mom always said that to get a fluffy omelet, you have to beat the egg whites stiff first, before adding the yolks.
2. Crack the first egg, and attempt to transfer the yolk from one half-shell to the other, while the egg white theoretically spills out, just the way your mom does it.
3. Wash off half the egg white from your hands.
4. Do the same with the rest of the eggs.
5. On your last egg, the yolk breaks and falls into the egg whites. Give up the idea of fluffy omelet and pour the rest of the carefully separated yolks into the whites.
6. Beat the eggs with a fork.
7. Add salt and pepper. Think of adding various herbs, but remember that your husband is always suspicious of foreign smelling/looking ingredients in anything experimental that you cook. Stick to salt and pepper.
8. Set aside the eggs.
The Things Inside the Omelet
1. The night before, make a mental rundown of the things you have in your cupboard and ref that could remotely be used for an omelet.
2. Fall asleep thinking of that exotic omelet with feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, basil and sweet roasted peppers.
3. In the morning, dig out serviceable-looking tomatoes and chop them up. Remember to take out the seeds this time.
4. Wonder if you chopped up too many tomatoes. Think about setting aside some of the tomatoes for another dish, but realize that if you do so, the next time you'll likely see them is when they sprout molds and have to be thrown out.
5. Decide to put in all the tomatoes. Tell your husband, when he asks about the overflow of tomatoes, that Vitamin C is good and lycopene helps prevent prostate cancer.
1. Prepare the pan. Make sure it's nice and dry, as through experience, you've learned that the littlest drop of water can cause a riot of explosion in the oil.
2. Add oil--this is a delicate procedure. Again, from experience, too much and the omelet swims disgustingly, and too little, the eggs become too attached to the pan.
3. Wait for the oil to heat up. Usually indicated by smoke emanating from the pan.
Cooking the Omelet
1. Stand at a safe distance--about an arm's length away.
2. Quickly pour in the egg mixture, then even more quickly jump away from the terrorist attack of hot oil.
3. After a bit, peep in at the omelet. When the edges look solid enough, poke at it with that flat cooking thing, and try to separate the eggs from the pan.
4. Swirl the pan around a bit, so the stubborn liquid egg at the center gets fried at the edges.
5. Debate with yourself about when exactly to put in the tomatoes.
6. When a burnt smell starts to emanate from the pan, put in the tomatoes--either dead center to make a gatefold omelet, or on one half to make a fold over omelet.
7. With that flat cooking thing, attempt to fold the egg over the stuffing.
8. If you are successful, restrain yourself from shouting in triumph and doing the dance of joy.
9. Attempt to flip the omelet.
10. When the omelet breaks up, increase the flame as a last attempt to cook those stubborn raw egg bits.
11. Scoop out the remains of the perfect omelet and put on a serving dish.
12. Arrange as artistically as possible, and garnish with a sprig of fresh herb from your husband's beloved herb garden.
Serving the Omelet
1. Before your husband gets down for breakfast, make sure he has either his favorite OJ, or have fresh coffee brewing.
2. Set up the laptop and set it to www.inq7.net.
3. Strategically place the laptop beside your husband's plate, right in front of the suspicious looking remains of yet another massacred omelet.