Friday, July 29, 2005

Writing Blanks

I had so many great ideas for my blog the past weeks. But now that I do have some time to write, my mind has gone blank. Where have all my brilliant, hilarious stories gone?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Thirty And Life

I spent July 13 turning 30.

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.


Today, The Hubby paid me the ultimate compliment.

In between reading and sips of freshly brewed coffee, he looked up straight at me and said, "Nice omelet."

I. Am. Victorious.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Biker Chick

I've always had this biker chick fantasy: me looking totally hot and kickass in a black leather catsuit, boots and silver mirrored Oakley shades. Never got to the part about what kind of bike I'd be riding though (don't know how to drive one anyway). And never mind that at the moment, I have the makings of a bike tire around my waist, not on my non-existent bike. Bottomline is, in my fantasy, I am such a babe.

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: 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?
Rix: No.
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

Cooking for Idiots Recipe #1: Pseudo Eggplant Parmigiana

When I was a kid, I loved to cook. I would experiment, serving instant noodle soup embellished with carrots, beans and egg. And I would bake a lot (in Baguio, you don't really notice the heat from the oven--in fact, it's nice to hang around the kitchen when someone's baking).

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

Hair, There and Everywhere

I recently had a very drastic haircut, thanks to my friend Mich, one of the most fasyon, on-the-cutting-edge-of-style people I know. She's currently in beauty school at Franck Provost, learning all about the unglamorous things behind the glamor. I got my haircut for free, with Mich and this superstar senior stylist (who, I heard, costs about P1,300 a pop) named Python tag-teaming my hair. I got it for free because I was one of the brave souls willing to be beauty school guinea pig. Or 'model', as they dubiously refer to anyone who subjects herself (or himself) and her hair to the hesitant scissor-holding hands of the students.

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.