Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps You Swallow Your Pride

I used to work with this magazine. I really lived and breathed it; The Hubby and I always argued about it. It was draining, but I loved it.

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


Boracay. April 28, 2004
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

Feet Be With You

I've been dreaming about going to Boracay since we came back from there April 2004. For now I'll have to content myself with memories. This is an entry from my travel book...

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.

Survey Says...

I'm part of this Newlyweds@Work Mailing list, and once a week (sometimes twice), someone posts a list of questions. It's a great way to learn about other people...and about yourself. This "Three Things" survey is a great one.

Post your own list! Should be fun.

1. Rheea
2. Ree

1. reewrites
2. morgan
3. hopesprings

1. hair color
2. lips
3. hands

1. abs area
2. hips area
3. facial skin

1. Filipino
2. Spanish
3. possibly some Chinese

1. failure
2. looking stupid
3. pain

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

2. U2/Sting
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

1. same commitment to God
2. sense of humor
3. respect

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

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

1. read
2. buy magazines and books
3. re-read things I’ve already read, except that I go straight to my favorite parts

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)

1. doctor: surgeon or psychiatrist
2. vet
3. but my ultimate career goal when I was a kid was to be a salesgirl in National Bookstore

1. Caribbean Islands
2. Latin America
3. Europe

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

1. write a book
2. travel around the world
3. leave a legacy

1. I eat a lot
2. I like action movies
3. I like beating up people—in a ring.

1. I like romance
2. I love kikay things
3. I’m a crybaby

1. Brad Pitt
2. Edward Norton
3. Piolo Pascual (we have a picture together! Heehee)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Marriage and Productivity

Marriage has made me lazy.

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

This Just In! Boo Update

Visited Boo at the vet last night--and I was so amazed! He was back to being Happy Boo, jumping up and keeping Jun Jun, the vet's assistant, busy untangling his IV line.

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

To Market, To Market

I had a grand time in the supermarket last Friday. I managed to wangle a ride from The Hubby to SM Bicutan, and I spent an hour and a half working my way systematically through the Hypermart (what makes it a hypermart versus a supermart? How small does it have to be to be a mini mart? Does anybody ever shop at a plain "mart" these days?).

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

More on Boo

The Boo is confined at the vet's clinic right now, hooked up to a IV. Still not eating. We're waiting for the results of his tests.

I miss Boo.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Boo Updates

Couldn't wait till tomorrow. I called the vet and asked him to come over and check on The Boo (more on the vet later). Boo was running a slight fever, but otherwise seemed fine. The vet analyzed some of his crap and discovered that The Boo had hookworms. Ugh. Both Chloe and The Boo got deworming meds, which Boo threw up 30 minutes later. The vet had to come back and give another dose. If Boo isn't eating by tomorrow, he'll have to be hooked up to an IV.

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

My Sick Boo

The Boo is sick.

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

Show Me the Money!

Money and I have always had a pretty laid-back relationship. I'm happy to see it when it's there, I miss it when it's gone, I spend time looking for it, but I don't think I'm obsessed with it. And based on the length of time money spends with me, I guess you can say it isn't too enamored with me either. The Hubby, on the other hand, has a dictatorship going on with money--it does what he tells it to do. Well, most of the time anyway. I guess money's like that. It has the tendency to take over, unless you keep it in control (I know some people like that).

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.