Monday, May 30, 2005

The Boo and Chloe in Baguio Posted by Hello

The God of Small Things

My shih tzu, Houdini (aka Houdi, Boodie Boo, Booder, The Boo), is terrified of thunderstorms. Rumbling in the distance gets his heart pounding, and lightning and strong rain sets off a full scale panic attack. My fear is that one day he'll die of a heart attack. The only thing that calms him in these times is to sit right by your feet--any person will do. He just wants to be near someone. Of course he prefers being cuddled and petted, but being near is enough.

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

The Cosmic Karma of Laundry

The underlying principle of karma can be summed up simply: what goes around comes around. Nothing in this world demonstrates karma more aptly than laundry--what gets worn, must get washed. Such is my karma every weekend.

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 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

The Quest for the Perfect Omelet

Steps to Making the Perfect, Fluffy, Mouthwatering Omelet
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).

The Eggs
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.

The Pan
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
3. Strategically place the laptop beside your husband's plate, right in front of the suspicious looking remains of yet another massacred omelet.

Bon apetit!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Almost Thirty

They prance around, bare bellies flashing, elegantly poised on shoes so high that I cannot imagine wearing them.
They flash confident smiles and carelessly toss their hair; carefree sylphs in blue jeans and tank tops.
But I know the fears that gnaw their souls at night.

I believe in fair trade, something for something.
And I exchanged, ounce by ounce, my body, my flashing belly, for a bit of wisdom, a bit of knowledge,
And the power to stop the fear from claiming my soul.

If they only knew the way to stop the fears, would they, too, trade their bodies to keep their souls?
Or would they go on, in their high, high shoes, pretending perfection?

I miss my body.
The one that I pranced around in, bare belly flashing.
But I am glad to have my soul.

Note: I did this poem last year, as a requirement for a class. As you can tell poetry isn't my thing. But I think it captures exactly how I feel about getting...ahem...more voluptuous in old age. ;p

Solar Powered

I love the kitchen/dining room in the morning. The sun shines in through the narrow strip of floor-to-ceiling window and lights up the room. It soothes my Ilocano (by virtue of proximity)soul to know that I don't have to give Meralco more money by turning on the light.

The dogs join me as I water the garden at about 6:30 or 7AM. Chloe loves being a sun-warmed doggie, though Houdi prefers to stay in the shade. But by the time The Hubby leaves at about 11AM, they both refuse to venture out beyond the shade of the garage.

If I take a bath at about 8:30AM, the sun filters in through the bathroom window, forming rainbows on my shower water.

The sun blazes through the living room at about 10AM to noon, scorching up the front garden as well. But I imagine in the cooler months, the pseudo chaise lounge by the pseudo bay window would be the perfect spot to, well, lounge around on. With a good book, and--depending on the season--a cold glass of lemon water or a hot cup of tea.

The sun swings over to the service area at the back at about 2PM, making it the perfect time to hang freshly-laundered clothes. I love the smell of sun-dried clothes.

By 4PM, the sun has wandered over to someone else's house. At 6:30PM, it's gone completely.

I love the sun. I love this house.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

My Husband Squeezes the Middle of the Toothpaste Tube! and Other Horror Stories

You know how those suspense movies always start. Heroine meets the perfect man, they fall in love and have the perfect wedding, move into the perfect home. Then, suddenly she discovers--cue the Psycho weenk-weenk-weenk sound effects and zoom-in-zoom-out camera shot--her perfect husband is a mid-toothpaste tube squeezer!

The horror. The shock. The anguish. What else could he be hiding from her?


Two-and-a-half months into my marriage, I often have these Psycho-moments. Last week, I confronted The Hubby about the unmistakable squeeze mark in the middle of an otherwise perfect tube of toothpaste. "It's still full--I start squeezing from the bottom when it's nearly empty," he blithely explained. But...but...I hate it nonetheless.

The worst discovery so far is how like night and day we are. Literally. I get up by 6AM and am knocked out by 11PM (or very incoherent), while The Hubby sleeps at 4AM and gets up as late as he can (average time, 9:30AM). Which means, given the fact that he leaves before lunch and gets home by 8:30PM, that we barely have 5 hours awake between us. Factor in getting dressed, more work, chores and where does that leave us?

Then there are differing money styles. I get headaches working out figures and budgets, and he has Excel charts and MS Money reports. He always asks me to give him these financial reports, and I always put it off until we fight about it.

Don't even get me started on food! I stand by my Hodgepodge Fried Rice (a melange of leftovers in the ref--creatively and flavorfully done) and he once fell in a extra foul mood when I served him a version of this for breakfast.

Clearly, marriage isn't exactly what the romantic hype makes it to be. Nobody said anything about the hard work that goes into it. No wonder a lot of couples separate. The constant adjustment and compromising is enough to really drive you Psycho.

So what is one to do? Just that. Adjust. Compromise. Remember what made you love this guy who sleeps in the same bed as you (but only sometimes makes the bed) in the first place. And when all else fails, pray. Really. Sometimes, the Lord gets, "Hey Lord, please help me be a more understanding, gentle and loving wife." A lot of times he gets, "Looord!! Keep me from strangling him!!!"

That's the core of it all. Commitment to God keeps your commitment to each other stronger. That's what we learned in the Engagement Seminar we attended. Sometimes you can't stand your spouse and you just want to call it quits, but it will be obedience to God that will keep you together. I hope we never reach that point, but thank God that he's got us covered.

My husband doesn't know I, too, have a deep, dark secret. The other day, I discovered where Chloe, my beloved German Shepherd mix and Houdi, the amourous Shih Tzu have been spending lazy summer afternoons--right in the middle of The Hubby's newly planted basil and kangkong patch. When he saw the decimation of his beloved plants, I managed a surprised and outraged gasp as I led him away from the scene of the crime...