Thursday, December 14, 2006

Babymooning in Cebu!

We're off to Cebu tomorrow early morning and I'm so excited! A friend of ours is getting married on Saturday, and The Hubby and I decided might as well make a vacation out of it. So we're leaving first thing tomorrow, and we'll be back on the last flight Sunday.

We're booked at the Tambuli Beach Resort on Mactan Island. A friend of ours said it's been sunny Cebu, and to bring sunblock and shades. Yes! There's a chance for me to be a sun-kissed hot momma beach goddess! The Hubby and I haven't gone anywhere at all this year, much less the beach, so I have faded to some washed-out non-color. And I figure this will be the last beach trip in a long time (what age can babies go to the beach?), so might as well make the most of it.

I haven't packed at all (and I haven't got a thing to wear to the wedding!) and there are tons of stuff to finish so we minimize backlog while we're gone. Argh! This is the part I hate--getting ready for the trip.

I hope it's sunny skies and balmy breezes all the way!

OK. Break over. Back to work.

Monday, December 11, 2006

My Christmas Wish List

The Hubby has been asking what I want for Christmas. I actually don't know. But here's a list of things that have, at one time or another, crossed my mind as must-haves:

1. Digital voice recorder - for when I do interviews, or when I want to make notes to myself, or dictate a thought or an idea when I have no time to scrounge around for a pen and notebook. What's a good brand? And what features are desirable? Pardon my ignorance. But I still want one. Preferably before my big interview next Wednesday.

2. Starbucks planner - I do not really need this one. But I love planners like this. Such pretty paper! But I won't be able to coffee up for another year or so...oh well.

3. A glass pen - saw one in Landes at Podium a year ago. Been hinting to The Hubby about it, but he's far too practical to get me something like this. But it's so lovely. And it comes with a quaint little bottle of ink. A wax seal would be nice too.

4. Cell phone - mine has seen better days. And it's hell to charge. Been charging it in the car! It would be nice to have a PDA phone, but they're kinda clunky. Just something with a huge phonebook would do. Maybe a camera, though I haven't really been using mine. And something that properly displays the caller's name! Though The Hubby says I should clean up my phonebook--probably some double entries there.

5. Laptop - like my phone, this laptop has seen better days. But it's been so useful and handy, it's had a good life. It's just so slow and beat up. But I'll still be able to hobble along I guess.

6. Bikini - saw one in Speedo, the kind I like--the one that isn't just a display suit, but something you can actually swim in (yes, I still wear bikinis--I'm a hot momma!).

7. Shopping spree in National Bookstore - Powerbooks or Fully Booked would be good too, but I want to rack up more points on my Laking National card. What books shall I buy? Breastfeeding, baby care/parenting, more cookbooks, of course, my writing books, the latest Kellerman and Binchy novels, historical fiction (particularly about royalty--not romantic fiction, though I'd probably take a look at the latest bobo books), books on Christianity and faith (though they'd have a wider selection at the VCF bookstore or OMF or PCBS), children's books like Guess How Much I Love You, The Giving Tree, I Love You Forever and Dr. Seuss, more fiction, and magazines galore. Whew! No wonder I can stay the entire day in National!

8. Fountain pen - I suppose a fountain pen would be a tad more practical than a glass pen. I'd like one with a fine nib. The Parker I use at the moment still writes a bit too thick for me. Or it could be my ink...

9. New rubber shoes or sneakers - I haven't bought a new pair in years! And my sneakers are getting tight because my feet are growing :(

10. House makeover - I want someone to come over the house and just fix it up. Put up my paintings, rearrange furniture--whatever. I want my house to look good without compromising function. And if the makeover comes with free furniture and stuff, who am I to refuse?

11. Complete sessions with a professional organizer - if I get a house makeover, why not get someone to help us get and stay organized and efficient? I read about one in Real Living, a professional organizer I mean. I wonder how much she charges.

12. Childbirth classes - I really am determined to give birth naturally, using Lamaze. Didn't think these childbirth would be a bit expensive! Oh well.

13. A full day at a spa - with the works. From hair all the way down to my toes (especially my toes--been having a hard time cutting my toenails already!). A body massage, a scrub, a facial, a hand massage, a foot scrub and massage, oh oh and waxing!

Hmm. That's about all I can think of for now.

Must go make my gift list for others.

It's Official!

Any time from March 25 to March 30, 2007, we can expect the arrival of Erynne Isobel Hermoso Prudente. I just knew this baby was a girl!

Raine is about a foot long now, and a little more than a pound. A different OB-Sonologist did the ultrasound, and she still had the same comment: ang likot! And she is, really. She has a variety of kicks and movements, I just have to shake my head and smile. I ask her all the time, "Just what are you doing in there?"

My family is excited, especially my seesters, who have been dying to go shopping. I haven't bought a single thing for the baby yet. I'm blessed to have friends and relatives who will hand me down stuff like a playpen, a stroller, baby carrier and stuff like that. We also have that heirloom crib from my dad's side. I know I have to make a list of baby stuff we need to get. Will work on that by New Year. Still have a lot of time anyway.

Gotta go back to work!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Baby Watch & House Dilemma

As always, I have an article due tomorrow, and I am blogging to warm up my writing brain.

So what's been going on aside from my non-stop growing?

Well the baby's been moving--really kicking up a storm in there, making the rounds of my belly. Baby usually starts out mid-tummy, making me aware of its presence with a well-aimed kick (and to think these are just tiny, 5-month-old baby kicks! what more when baby's almost due?). Then baby starts trawling the bottom of my belly, moving side to side, nudging my bladder. I like that the least.

Funny thing is, at my last OB visit last month, I couldn't feel baby move at all. "You mean you can't feel anything, even a flicker?" asked my OB in disbelief. And instantly I felt like, what kind of mother am I, can't even feel my baby move! "Well, maybe she's shy," said the OB, with what I felt was doubt in her voice (but that's paranoid me talking). "Try playing faster music."

I'd been playing a lot of classical music lately (good thing I enjoy classical and the opera). But one day after my OB visit, I decided to play Everything But the Girl's Home Movies album. And all of a sudden, I felt a sort of weird gurgling, bubbly feeling in my belly. Baby finally moved! And hasn't stopped moving since. Apparently classical puts baby to sleep; she prefers EBTG (particularly Apron Strings), U2, a little Bob Marley, some Jars of Clay, Brazilian-percussion-heavy music. This is my kind of baby! The Hubby was excited to feel baby move. You can really feel the kicks when you put your hand over my belly!

We're going for an ultrasound this weekend, hopefully we'll know if baby is Trist or Raine. Would be great to finally refer to baby by name and correct pronoun. I'm excited!

We have to decide how to set up the house soon. Right now, our second bedroom is our office-cum-guestroom. It has its own bathroom, but it's weirdly cut up, so it seems to have less floorspace than the other room, which we currently use as our bedroom. We were thinking of converting the office into our bedroom, and our bedroom into the nursery-guestroom (it's usually my mom and sister who stays over anyway). But where to put the office? With the bed in here, there won't be space for much, let alone two desks with two desktops, two laptops and a plethora of peripherals.

It would look terrible to put the office in the living area, which is tiny as it is. Unless we totally cut down on hardware. Can we survive with a laptop each and a desktop as Hubby's server? Probably. But what about the printer, scanner, humongous fax? I am so terrible at space planning and interior decorating. Which is why more than five months after we've moved in, I still have several boxes of unpacked things!

I was thinking I'd probably have baby in our room till the sixth month, then move him into his own room after. So we could still stay in our current bedroom, which has more space for the crib (our crib is a huge heirloom one, which used to belong to my dad!). But wouldn't it be harder to move rooms and rearrange and all that when the baby is here already? I was hoping to have the nursery set up by February. Right now our walls are plain white. I want a colorful mural on the walls of baby's room. And we'd need some cabinets installed in there. I am also planning to put my ever-so-comfy-ever-so reliable sofa bed (desperately in need of a paint over and new upholstery though!) in the nursery. I suppose I can nap there once in awhile, and guests still can have some privacy. Hmm. What else does a nursery need? And how do we solve the displaced office dilemma?

Argh! Can anyone help me out here?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hubby the Chef

The Hubby's been able to cook more lately. Which is great because I don't really feel like cooking much these days, and my palate has been off--I can't get the taste right. Either too salty or too bland.

Of course, since The Hubby has been in charge, we've been having a lot of his type of food, the very Pinoy/Laguna dishes, which I've never really eaten too much of in my life. First off, we've been having a lot of seafood. I never got used to eating seafood; in Baguio seafood is rare and expensive. In Laguna, it's in abundance. While we're on his-province/my-province food, one thing I cannot get is how he does not consider plain vegetables a main dish. It's always a side kick to something else. In our Baguio house, veggies ruled. We can actually eat salad and consider that a full meal. I love stir-fried veggies, sometimes with the token pieces of meat, sometimes plain veggies. Often with chicken fillet or ground meat.

At any rate, I've enjoyed what The Hubby has been cooking. He has this amazing shrimp in coconut milk thing that makes me eat like there was no tomorrow (and I'm allergic to shrimp! or at least I was...haven't been getting my crustacean allergy lately). I was able to duplicate his recipe yesterday though, and The Hubby even said that I cooked it better than he did *ear-to-ear-grin*.

Then he had this galunggong dish--not your ordinary GG! It was his own version of this Italian fish dish with salomiglio sauce. Yum! I don't really like galunggong (or any bony fish for that matter, since I am lousy with getting the bones out and being the low EQ person that I am, I find the debone-as-you-eat process too tedious to be really worth the effort, which is why I love canned tuna, boneless bangus and big tilapia), but this one was really worth the effort:

The sauce is sort of sweet-salty-sour. It has capers, red wine vinegar, sugar and (in this case), lime. And the fish was grilled, not fried. Yummy!

Then again, as The Hubby says, "Good thing you're so easy to please." Hmm. I think I really am. Sometimes I wish The Hubby were as easy to please as I am.

Sometimes, I think, the reason why I don't feel like cooking too much is that The Hubby is such a food critic. Unlike me, he cannot just sit down and enjoy the food sometimes. He has to analyze everything. And he always has points for improvement. And when you're tired and not really in the mood to cook in the first place, or conversely, put your heart and soul into preparing that dish, it's disheartening. And now, with the yummy, yummy dishes he's been putting out, I feel like I cannot compete.

In fairness (a phrase that is so overused), The Hubby does appreciate my efforts, if not the results. His palate is just so different from mine, as is his idea of what 'good food' is. I'm trying to adjust--and actually like--his lowlander type of food; sometimes I wish he were more open to the upland foods. But I appreciate the fact that he appreciates what I do.

But back to the food topic. I think I have to curb my eating. My doctor said I was overweight at my last check up. And I feel I've already passed the 150-pound mark. Argh! When the baby is about a pound or so at most, and given that my -- ahem-- bosom added on about two pounds, and you have like four pounds for placenta and amniotic fluid, that means that the extra 15 pounds I packed on is all me! And I know exactly where they settled: on my arms, my butt, my thighs and my face. *grumble grumble*. And everyone says that I will pack on more pounds in the last three months. Oh no! That's going to be hell to lose after, given my aversion to exercise and my love for eating. Especially when The Hubby cooks.

I need to exercise more! Must walk more. And get in more swimming. Yes. Must do that. But let me go get a snack first.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Christmas Plugging

I'm helping my mom sell really fantabulous Christmas decorations. These are export overruns, or imported items that you won't easily find anywhere else. And they're quite reasonably-priced too. And they are totally adorable. If I could, I'd keep all the stuffed animal decors. That's the theme I've decided on: stuffed Christmas animals. I figured when the baby comes next year, at least she (or he) can really enjoy and touch the Christmas decors. But must not get ahead of the profits! I restrained myself and only kept two Christmas stockings, a bear and a pair of moose (pair of meese?).

Will sadly give up the rest so that others can enjoy them as well.

The super vogue Santa (apparently in the north pole, cream is the new red!) above is waist high! Isn't it adorable?

I love this moose! Sniff. It's a counter-sitter.

To see more stuff, check out my Multiply album:

The prices are there, and more details. Support my mom's biz! Help me get the moose counter-sitter for free! Hehehe.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Labor of Love, Part Two

Just noticed that my recent entries have been all food this, food that; baby this, baby that. Just to show the other things I've been laboring over:

I helped put this magazine together. *bows* It should be available wherever they sell magazines, National Bookstore included. IMAG PHOTOGRAPHY (or just IMAG) is the magazine for photography enthusiasts, those who want to up their skills, or even those who just like looking at pretty pictures. This mag has some of the country's best photographers' works (and tips!). We have travel photographer George Tapan; wedding photographer Patrick Uy; James Deakin of C! Mag, the guru of fast car photography; Remy Bautista, who does amazing baby shots (check out the twins in her article! super adorable) ... and photos from a lot more.

On the editorial team are Ibarra Deri (who shot our wedding. Ahem... plugging. That reminds me, haven't gotten around doing our wedding album yet. Hmm...And baby album coming up...) who is a well known portrait photographer; Jun Miranda, who runs that Philippine Center for Creative Imaging (and has a bi-weekly Photoshop column in Manila Bulletin); and graphic artist/art director/photographer Ed Yap.

IMAG will be a monthly, in fact the October issue is due out...well in October. It's going to be a glorious issue. The theme is weddings, so the best wedding photographers' works are going to be featured (more than a year after my wedding, I still like looking at other people's weddings and thinking how I could've done better. hahaha), plus all the tips you need to start shooting great wedding photos, straight from the mouths (and keyboards) of the wedding photographers themselves.

Of course, there are the usual Photoshop and digital imaging tips; equipment review; buyers' guide; and one of my favorite sections--Clinic, where you send in sick pictures. Hehe. Not--it's more of a (free!) critique of snapshots you send in. A guest photographer will give you the good, the bad and the ugly, plus tips on how you can improve your shots (if you want to send in your photos for critique, email them to with the subject "Clinic." Include a short description of your photo, camera used, settings, etc and your pertinent details, like name (duh) and contact info; favorite color and time of day not really needed).

Of course, as with any first issue, IMAG still needs some tweaking, but at least you know for sure that the magazine's going to get better and better. Oh, and one more great thing about IMAG is that it is proudly Filipino. I mean, we Pinoys are simply oozing with talent, why not showcase it? And the tips in the magazine are stuff you can actually use and relate to, because it's in the Philippine setting.

I'm really proud of this magazine, and of the Filipinos featured in it.

So grab a copy. It's a steal at 175 bucks.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I know it's the middle of the day and I'm supposed to be working, but...I can't help it. I'm so happy-giddy. The Hubby was so excited too, he promptly took a nap.

This is either Tristan Gabriel or Erynne Isabel. We were praying for twins, but the doctor said it was a single baby. Doesn't it look huge? This is the baby's first close up shot, actually. It's only 6.48 cm long! Imagine that.

When the doctor was looking, Trist/Raine was squirming like crazy, waving a tiny little hand (with tiny little fingers!). It's amazing. I still can't fully absorb that there is something so wonderful growing inside me. The Hubby wasn't allowed in the ultrasound room, but there was a monitor outside, so he could see everything the doctor and I could see. He got a little teary eyed.

Oh, side story: last week, feeling totally haggard and ugly, I went fishing--probably dynamite fishing, for all my subtlety. I asked The Hubby, "Do you think I'm pretty?" All he said was "yup". Then probably seeing that I was unsatisfied with his answer, he added, "And you know your baby pictures in the [high school] yearbook? You were so pretty! So..." he did some gigil motion, "I hope our little girl looks like you." Aww...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Labor of Love

Yesterday, the 19th, was our one-year-seventh-monthsary of being married (which means we've been together almost six years! Imagine that). And since The Hubby left for work in a rather dismal mood, I wanted to prepare dinner that was really worth coming home to.

When I finally sent off an article at 7PM--2 hours later than originally planned--I had to make a run for the grocery. What normally takes me 25 to 30 minutes (the walk from the house and back, plus shopping time), I did in 15 minutes flat.

And thus began my experimental meal. I didn't want to text The Hubby to say that I was making a special dinner because 1) I wanted it to be a surprise; and 2) if it didn't turn out the way it should, then at least he didn't get his hopes up.

On the menu was cumin-and-pepper seasoned pork chops with a white wine sauce, butter-fried apples, creamy garlic mashed potatoes and lightly seasoned corn-and carrots. Theoretically, it was only supposed to take me 45 minutes to prepare, but I'm not the most efficient cook in the world. The great thing about the main dish--the chops and apples and sauce--is it's cooked in just one pan (skillet). I'm such a fan of one pot/pan meals, so much easier to wash up after. Then
again, I had another pot for the mashed potatoes, another pan for the veggies. Oh well.

The Hubby arrived at about 8:45PM and I was only about halfway done, still mashing the potatoes, the veggie side dish not even started! But when I finally called him to dinner at 9:30PM, he sat down to this (as he picked up his knife and fork, The Hubby said, "You've been reading Selina's blog again, haven't you?") :

The Hubby's reaction when he bit into a piece of porkchop was worth the two hours of slaving over the hot stove. "This is the best I've had in ages," he said. Now that I think of it though, that seems to be a backhanded compliment. Does he mean the things I've been cooking lately haven't been good? Hmm. Must grill The Hubby (when he's in a better mood).

After the meal, it took me another hour to clean up and wash the dishes (I've been such a slowpoke these days--and this isn't the healthiest meal I've cooked, as the gunky butter and oil caking the dishes and pans can attest to) before totally zonking out in bed.

Ah, the things you do for love.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More Happy Food

Oh joy! Just discovered another happy food: tomato sandwiches.

Slices of plump, juicy Baguio tomatoes on whole wheat bread, with mustard and blue cheese salad dressing, liberally sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese. Sublime!

I'm down to my last half-tomato though. Uh oh.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Happy Food

People ask me what I'm making lihi (craving) to, and I can't really say. I eat the same things I usually eat, and I don't suddenly want weird stuff like peanut butter and bagoong sandwiches or sinigang with mayonnaise. While I can't stand the smell of cooking fish, I still eat it. I think I'm easy. I would also like to think that I'm not giving The Hubby a hard time; I don't send him out at 2AM in the pouring rain to look for things like pickled balut and sinkamas na itim.

There are foods that make me extremely happy though. When my mom was here a couple of weeks ago, she treated me to a CPK salad. I was beside myself with joy. Every bite was sheer pleasure. I get goosebumps thinking about that salad. I think that's the only thing I constantly ask The Hubby for. Salad. The more exotic, the better (though I'd settle for a Caesar's from Wendy's). I love CPK salads, which have stuff like cilantro and jicama (what ever is jicama?) and Monterey Jack cheese and walnuts and avocado. And the dressings! Blue cheese, honey mustard, raspberry vinaigrette! Just the thought makes me drool. Then my friend Selina comes up with a salad like this. Ooh la la.

The thing is, I don't like homemade salads (at least the usual lettuce-tomato-onions-thousand-island-dressing kind). One time I asked The Hubby to bring me home a salad, and he said he was passing by the grocery to buy greens instead. I was sooo disappointed. My hopes went up when he said the veggies were ugly (am so bad!), but he still didn't bring me salad. I enjoyed the fruits he got for me though. Homemade salads--or at least the common ones--don't turn me on. It just isn't happy food.

Another happy food for me is pasta. I am so grateful that my seester Rix, the OFW, sent me half a kilo of sundried tomatoes and a quarter kilo of parmesan cheese. Oh happy, happy, joy, joy! When I cook my pasta, I can splurge on the ingredients. Actually, the pasta I like eating, I can easily whip up at home. It's just lots of garlic sauteed in olive oil (I make my own flavored olive oil--adds lovely taste to almost anything), lots of fresh tomatoes, lots of basil and freshly cracked pepper, and thanks to Rix, lots of sundried tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Super quick, super yummy. I still enjoy other pastas, like the Quattro Formaggio at Cafe Puccini, or the El Telefono at Cibo. A good pesto anywhere is also such a treat. What I'm not into though, is the typical spaghetti, the regular tomato meat sauce, bolognese. In fact, at Cafe Puccini, I had to move the steaming plate of bolognese away from me--the aroma made me really queasy.

I also discovered another happy food yesterday--tuna (I've been eating the Century with calamansi) on whole wheat bread, sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Now this is so much easier to get and prepare. Just open the can, pour the tuna in a bowl, pop it in the micro for a few seconds, spoon it over the bread, add the cheese and viola! Happiness in a sandwich.

The funny thing is, it's The Hubby who's been looking for all sorts of things. The Hubby, who usually eats because he has to (unlike my clan, who eat for the joy of it), has turned into a serial muncher. After dinner, he will scrounge around for dessert, usually some chocolate (I haven't been into chocolate and sweets these days, so The Hubby feels 'obliged' to finish them). Then when we get into bed, he gets up to get a glass of milk, and maybe some crackers. Then maybe a bit more chocolate. Or a peanut butter sandwich. Or some juice. Or some of my super sour jelly tape (great discovery--jelly tape helps ward off queasiness!). He's constantly hungry and looking for food.

Just the other night, at about midnight, he turned to me and said, "I want balut." I'm just so glad he didn't send me out in the pouring rain to get it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Oh the Games We Used to Play!

Thinking about having my own kids makes me think about my childhood. Aside from angsty nobody-loves-me episodes (which I think have morphed into the adult funks), I had a pretty great childhood. Sure we never had much money, and I didn't have the latest toys, but we sure had a lot of fun.

I sort of pity the kids these days, oversheltered, artificially stimulated kids. They spend hours in front of the computer and TV and they miss out on the sheer joy of inventing games out of nothing at all (sounds like an Air Supply song).

Most of our favorite games involved no expensive gadgets or toys and we always had a blast. These are the ones I remember:

Rum Raisin
This game was named after our moms' favorite chocolate at that time. My cousin Nikki and I assumed that anything with "rum" in the name would definitely be intoxicating, hence the mechanics of the game. All we needed was an open space (the bigger the better) and at least two people. All you had to do was spin and spin and spin around till you were really dizzy. Then you drape your arms around each other's shoulders and try to walk in a straight line, saying "Rum Raisin". We could play this game endlessly. Well, not really--it did have a limit, also known as the puking point.

Terrible Tunnel
Terrible Tunnel was a special game played only during summer, when my brother was visiting from Manila. We'd need a mattress rolled out on the floor (the regular foam mattresses, not the spring box ones--this mattress was only brought out when we had guests sleeping over) and at least four people. The object of the game was to crawl through the 'terrible tunnel' (the mattress rolled into something like a brazo de mercedes) while the other people simulated a horrific storm, shaking the mattress, sitting on it, making howling wind noises. My brother, by virtue if being the biggest player, usually won at this. Many times I'd get so pikon I'd end up not talking to him for the entire day. We'd usually make up at night, just in time for another game of Terrible Tunnel.

Shark Shark
You'd need a double deck bed for this, as well as a lot of pillows, stuffed toys and other soft things you can use to make a barrier (once we used a toy robot and someone ended up crying). I guess it's obvious we watched a lot of Jaws and Orca back in those days. The 'shark' or the it would try to eat the people in the boat, protected by flimsy barriers also known as stuffed toys. Any body part the shark could reach was fair game. Whoever got eaten first would be the next shark. Of course my sister Rix was such a saling pusa back then she'd insist on joining and we'd always make her the shark. But since she was too short to reach anything back then, even when jumping, we'd eventually get bored and look for something else to play (side story--I don't know if Rix remembers this. Once we were playing on the top deck of the bed and something fell down. Rather than climb down to get it, I had the brilliant idea of holding Rix by her ankles and lowering her over the side of the bed. Too late did I realize that she was too heavy for me, and either we both fall off the bed or I drop her. Guess which option self-preserving me chose. Am so bad!).

House House
I don't know why we name our games double words. Maybe it's a literal translation of bahay-bahayan. House House could be played anywhere. But our favorite place was the garden of my best friend Rej's house. She had this fabulous poinsettia tree with amazing branches that you could comfortably sit on, even lie down (precariously) on. So we'd have our own 'rooms' (branches) and the rest of the garden would be the rest of the house. Of course tag-along Rix wanted in on the fun, and being the mean older sister that I was, we'd make her 'room' under this ugly tree on the far side of the garden.

On time Rej got a clay cooking set for her birthday, and we decided to cook real food. One of our friends brought a can of sardines and in the spirit of House House, I deigned to take a bite. I've been eating sardines ever since (not even my mom could make me do that before!).

Hot Iron
I think this was our hands-down, all-time favorite. Hot Iron honed our role-playing and impromptu dialogue skills. The very basic things this game needed was a balloon (the regular blow-up-till-you're-breathless kind, not the helium-filled ones) and a lot of imagination.

The bare bones scenario involved a talkative maid and her snooty senora. The maid would be ironing clothes with the balloon (miraculously transformed into a burning hot iron) and would somehow forget to turn the iron off. When the senora came home, she'd discover that the iron was burning down her house. She or the maid would try to grab the iron, which of course was extremely hot--and the entire game proceeded something like Hot Potato, and the whole point was to not let the balloon touch anything. Other players were easily assimilated into the game as the husband, the house guests, the kids, the nosy neighbors, the other house help. Now the excitement and fun came in the dialogue that you had to keep up as you tossed the balloon to and fro. For some reason, Tagalog was the preferred language for this game, and crooked as our Tagalog was, we'd speak it.


Of course, we had our share of computer games (I think we even started with Atari!) and Barbie dolls. But the games I remember and cherish the most are these silly, silly ones that gave us tons of fun. I only wish that my kids could have as much fun as we did.

What games did you used to play?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

So There, Take Two

As I've said before, people ask me, "Are you pregnant?"

Now I say, "Yup, 8 weeks and counting."



We want twins.

I just wish I wasn't sleepy all the time.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Step Into My Subconscious

They say that your dreams reflect what's going on in your subconscious mind, the dilemmas you're wrestling with.

This was my dream on our first night here in our new cozy little house:

The Hubby and I just moved into a new house. It was a log cabin on top of a mountain. The cabin was small, but cozy. It had a fireplace and chimney. I was wearing a dress ala "Little House on the Prairie". Lushly green grass covered the mountain slopes, purple flowers here and there. Somehow I got a bird's eyeview of our new home, just like those cinematic panning shots that circle around before zooming in. Ours was the only house there. At the bottom of one side of the mountain was a thickly wooded forest. The other side was a cliff, a vertical drop so high, you couldn't see the bottom.

The Hubby and I stood at the top of the mountain, right beside the cliff, arms around each other. As we happily surveyed all we owned, I turned to The Hubby. "So, what do you think?" I asked, "Should we throw the doggie crap over the cliff?"

And I woke up.

Friday, July 07, 2006

So There

My dog, Chloe, and I often get the same question these days: are you pregnant?

No. Our perfect 10 bodies are merely well insulated under protective layers of all-natural padding.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

As Always...

...I have two articles due today, so I'm blogging.

Also, I'm sick. I spent the morning and afternoon sleeping and alternately sweating and chilling. I hurt all over. You know the kind that even touching your scalp hurts? This is the time that I miss having a maid--someone to wash the pots and pans from last Saturday's dinner party (it was The Beloved Hubby's birthday!) and do crap patrol and feed the pets and all that. I was about to prepare breakfast, but I became too woozy and took a nap on the couch instead. Lunch was Hot Onion Noodle Soup. Am so glad The Hubby prepared his own lunch. Then an attempt to work on my articles, but got too woozy, so slept on the couch again. Now I feel slightly better, but my brain cells are not working. *sigh*

On to the good news though. We finally found a house! After a month of searching and a couple of near-hits, we have a cute little house. I've always noticed that house when we pass by Main. It's painted yellow. I love yellow. When we finally saw the inside, it wasn't love at first sight the way it was with our current house here on Belvedere. But The Hubby and I could see the potential.

The new house is about a third of the size of our current house--but at half the rent! So that's a lot of savings. But that means we really have to get rid of a lot of stuff. I'm a packrat by nature, so I find it hard to get rid of stuff (you'll never know when you'll need to refer to that 1996 issue of Time magazine, and perhaps someday, I will still fit into my size 26 skinny jeans). So it's time for a garage sale. Now, what to sell? What to bring? I measured the new house, and I still don't know what to bring. I suppose I have to measure our current furniture and see what will fit.

A lot of the stuff I have are also of sentimental value. The very first couch and table that I bought. The TV cabinet that my papa made with his own hands more than 20 years ago. My wicker hope chest that I'm supposed to pass on to my daughter. And my books! All the books that I still keep going back to, that I'm saving for my reading room project.


The other semi-good news is, there's enough space to bring the dogs. But The Hubby is adamant about not letting them set paw in the house. I suppose they'll get used to it. And more importantly, I will get used to it. I like having the dogs underfoot, always ready for a cuddle break. Now I have to design a dog house that will meet my requirements. It has to be easy to clean--so maybe a tiled floor? Then the roof has to sort of insulated (correct term?) so when it's raining it doesn't sound like a drum inside (and terrify The Boo). And maybe it should have a ceiling so that it doesn't go into temperature extremes. Then maybe it has to look like a couch, since the dogs simply adore staying on the couch, and if the house looks like one, it will encourage them to stay there. Then it also has to look nice on the outside, so it won't be an eyesore from the road, since we're putting the dogs in the front. Hmm. Any architects or interior designers out there up to the challenge of creating the perfect dog house?


More on the house. I think our current house has spoiled us for anything else. The bathrooms here are beautifully tiled, with on-the-higher-end fixtures. The ground floor is marble, as is my kitchen counter. I have more than enough space (hence more than enough kalat), lots of cabinets and shelves and mirrors. The new house has vinyl floors, the kitchen counter is tiny and the bathrooms leave a lot to be desired. Only one nice cabinet to speak of, the one in the front bedroom that we will turn into an office. But the cut is nice, it's still bright and airy--and it's yellow! I suppose you can't go wrong with a yellow house.

Our contact starts on July 15, so we have a little more than two weeks to sort through stuff, to sell, give away or keep things, pack the stuff we'll keep, and start moving. I'm excited, and a bit overwhelmed. This isn't like when The Hubby and I moved in together after getting married, where we just hauled over our his-and-hers. Now it's a joint venture. It feels weird.


Uh oh. Getting woozy again. But really must work. Life goes on, even when you're sick. :(

Friday, June 16, 2006

8 Things

Tagged by Stef. Might as well.

Eight things about me:

1. Sometimes I doubt if I can really write. Sure, I can string words together, sometimes prettily. But will it ever be worth anything, my writing? Will it ever make a dent somewhere?

2. I think of all things in the world, what I am most afraid of is humiliation. I don't like looking stupid. I don't like to fail (at least publicly). It's a pride thing.

3. I get attached. To people, to things, to places. Which is why I don't adapt to change quickly and with grace. Or why I sometimes have a hard time to forgive and forget.

4. My full name is Rita Angelita II. I prefer to be called by my nickname, Rheea (note the double "e"). I like my nick-nickname better, Ree (three letters only, no "h"). But what I liked best was what my older brother used to call me: Ee (hmm...that looks funny spelled out).

5. While we're on the topic of names, I like giving people nicknames. I like naming things. I like thinking of names for other people's kids. I like naming the pets (that's why most of our 30 fish had names). My plants used to have names. I bought a 30,000-entry baby name book, even when I had no intention of having babies.

6. And speaking of babies, The Hubby and I have been thinking about it. I'd like to have twins--a boy and a girl--so it's over in one go. We have the name for the boy already. The girl--The Hubby has vetoed several of my suggestions, and I've vetoed his. Maybe that's why we're not pregnant yet, we can't agree on a name (or it could be due to the raincoats ;p).

7. When I was growing up, my ultimate career goal was to be a salesgirl in National Bookstore. I mean--wow! You work surrounded by all those books! Then my mom dashed my dreams when she said that the salesgirls aren't allowed to read while on duty. If I had my own bookstore, I'd encourage my staff to read, even during work hours (of course, not to the point of ignoring their other duties), so they can discuss and recommend books to customers. In fact, I'd only hire people who can't live without reading.

8. And finally, there are times I like being alone. The Hubby has started a Friday night cell with his ex-officemates, and so I've been enjoying my Friday nights, with just the dogs for company. I can eat cornflakes for dinner or whip up pasta or even not eat at all! I can just curl up in bed with a book, or listen to myself think. I can visit my sister in law down the block. I can blog!

The possibilities are endless. To anyone who wants to be tagged, consider yourself tagged. Just let me know when you're doing this.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Funky Town

I'm in a funk. A slump. A down cycle. A bad-hair-fat-ass-nothing-to-wear day.

Maybe it's my tummy--eating the usual amount of food makes me feel like throwing up, like I can feel the food just down my throat. But even if I feel like puking, I'm hungry. Argh. I rarely get tummy problems. I am blessed with a tummy of steel (heavily padded on the outside).

Or it could be the fact that it's mid-June and we haven't found a house to move to yet and we have to be out of here by the end of June.

Or it could be the fact that I am not that happy with my current money-generating gigs. In the perfect world, I would be sitting by my floor-to-ceiling glass window overlooking the sea (yes, the window is attached to a house), and I would be typing away on my high tech laptop (at this point, I'll settle for a laptop that has batteries, and does not need to be plugged in all the time), effortlessly creating brilliant articles and stories that the publishing houses are bidding for. But nooooo. I must live in this world. Where somehow I have morphed from a PR writer into an all around something who does almost everything except be the model in one of these events that I am merely supposed to write about and not produce. Of course if I were the model then we would be back in the perfect world, and that's beside the point.

Or it could be the fact that The Hubby (thank you Lord for him) has said that I can resign from my PR gig, but I am hesitant to do so because I know The Hubby will have to pick up the financial slack and as it is he is way too stressed with our finances and I don't want to add to that. And how selfish can I be wanting to resign in the middle of a financial crisis just because I'm unhappy. But I have been wanting to quit this PR gig for the past three years and I never could because I need the money.

Or it could be the fact that The Hubby won't tolerate the dogs inside the house anymore, and I can't bear to see them outside. So I am torn between finding them a new home where they will be loved and allowed in the house, and keeping them and making sure they stay outside. And if I do keep them, then we'd have to find a house that has ample space outside for them because NO WAY am I going to tie them up or keep them in cages. And that means it would be a more expensive house. And if I decide to find homes for them, then who will take them? The Boo isn't a problem; several people want him. As my friend Juddy Baby said, The Boo gets by on charm and good looks. It's Chloe who will be hard to place. She's a bigger dog, and she's a needy one--she needs lots of love and attention. And she sometimes gets into trouble because she loves rummaging through trash and just this morning she ate The Hubby's omelette right off the table. Evil dog. But she's very malambing and loyal. My sister in law said she'd take them both in, with The Boo inside the house and Chloe outside, but free to roam. I'm OK with that but I don't know if they can handle Chloe. She doesn't get wild, but she is needy, so she whines for attention and I know my brother doesn't like her too much. Both Chloe and Boo are gentle dogs, great with kids and very tolerant (kids can even ride on Chloe). If I do give them away, who's going to love me unconditionally with all-out devotion, no matter what?

Or it could be the fact that we are moving house and I have to pack all over again, and then unpack. I don't like packing and unpacking. It means that we have to sort through all this stuff that we've accumulated. The Hubby wants to get rid of stuff. What do we get rid of?

Or it could be the fact that at the moment I have no money. I can't even treat myself to McNuggets with honey mustard sauce and Twister Fries if I wanted to. Or Holy Kettle Corn. Or books or magazines. Or even new shampoo-even-when-the-current-bottle-is-still-half-full because this one is making my scalp itch.

Or it could be the fact that I know that I am having myself a pity party and I don't feel like calling it off (the invitations have been sent) and I know I should.

Or maybe it's the fact that 60% of the population won't even know the song "Funky Town". Argh. I am getting grumpy in my old age.

Friday, May 12, 2006


I need to churn out a couple of articles before lunch, so I will jumpstart my brain by blogging (yes, Ree, tell yourself that). Since half my brain is processing the articles, the blogging part is a bit disjointed, hence a hodgepodge of whatever comes to mind.


Oh happy happy joy joy. Finally found my phone case, the one I've been looking for since March. It was buried under a pile of bills that I've been meaning to file. Ehehe.


When The Hubby and I got home a few days ago, only Chloe came to greet us. Almost flew into a Boo-induced panic again. Looked for him in the service area, in the front garden--only to find him inside the house. Apparently, he didn't go out when The Hubby was locking up, and The Hubby didn't see him (Boo sort of blends with the marble floor). Whew!


It's bed weather today. Wish The Hubby didn't have to go to the office. Yesterday, it was so hot and there was a brief downpour in the afternoon that only served to agitate the heat molecules, making it even hotter and muggy. But I'd take the scorching heat over rain or drizzle when I have to commute. Commuting in the rain sucks. I totally hate getting my feet wet.


I don't think I'm going to watch American Idol anymore. They kicked out Chris. Hmph.


The highlight of my week: Muay Thai! I am ecstatic that there are Muay Thai classes right here in the village, and so reasonably priced too. The Hubby is joining me (to make sure he can defend himself when we get into a fight mwahahaha); so far we've logged in three of the twenty sessions we've signed up for. Oh yeah. Kick-ass days are here again!


My best friend from Baguio (we've been friends since we were in diapers and I couldn't say her name properly--"Wehgie" instead of "Reggie") is getting married! To her on-off boyfriend of six years. I'm so happy for them. Rej is practically my sister. And I like Pol. They had a major breakup in 2005, and now they're getting married. Sounds so familiar. I think that really happens. Take me and The Hubby. We were on-off, and then we had a major breakup. Then we decided to get married. I know a lot of couples with that pattern too. I think after the major breakup, you either move on to other people, or you realize that you can't see yourself growing old with anyone else.


I really ought to be working.


Fine, fine. Back to work.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Cooking for Idiots Recipe #2: Chicken-Veggie Stir Fry

It's been ages since my last recipe post. I have been cooking a lot more not-so-idiotic-incompetent-cook recipes since then (see, Hubby, I just needed to warm up--told you I liked to cook). But I still love these quick, easy recipes. Perfect for when you come home to a hungry husband after a long day at work.

- a good wok (large frying pan will do)
- one of those flat turning things
- stove

- chicken fillet pieces, chopped into cubes (I like only breast)
- assorted vegetables, chopped into bite sized pieces (the Baguio veggies work best--carrots, beans, wombok)
- garlic, crushed (I love garlic, so my recipes usually have a little more than usual)
- small onion, coarsely chopped
- oil (olive works best)
- oyster sauce
- soy sauce
- pepper

*NOTE: I cook by feel, rather than by quantity, so it's a matter of estimating how much you need to put (just realized if I were to put up a restaurant or go into the food business, must make my cooking method more exact :( )

1. Heat the oil in the wok. When hot enough, add garlic.
2. When garlic starts to brown, add the onions.
3. When onions start to become transparent, add the chicken.
4. When chicken turns white add the veggies (if you are adding wombok or other leafy vegetables, add it last, when the rest of the vegetables are semi-cooked).
5. Over high heat, constantly stir or toss the whole mess in the wok. Don't stop, even to wipe the sweat off your brow (stir fry is hot, hot work)! The secret to keeping the crunch in the veggies is to not let them stay too long in a heap on the bottom of the pan.
6. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce (I use a 1:1 proportion).
7. Add pepper--best if freshly ground from a pepper mill.
8. Serve with a smile.

This stir fry thing is a very flexible recipe. You can change the soy/oyster sauce seasoning to butter and herbs (rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil, etc) for something less Chinese. You can make the chicken into some other meat (or take it out completely for something totally vegetarian). You can add bean spouts and tofu (best with butter and kikoman). The best thing is, after cooking, you only have one pan, one turning cooking thing, one knife and one chopping board to wash. Amen to that!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Today I Was Super Woman

Today I...

Woke up.
Took a bath in cold water.
Had my quiet time.
Cooked breakfast for The sound-asleep Hubby (tinapang bangus and garlic fried rice).
Washed the dishes.
Fed the dogs.
Fed the birds.
Fed the fish.
Checked my mail.
Kissed The still-sleeping Hubby goodbye.
Rode a tricycle.
Rode an FX.
Walked to the MRT.
Took the train.
Walked five minutes under the sun to my client's office in commuter-unfriendly Forbes.
Had a productive work day.
Walked back to the MRT.
Took the train.
Walked through SM, Glorietta and crossed to Park Square Terminal.
Rode a van.
Walked five minutes to the house.
Cooked dinner (rice and chicken-veggie stir-fry. Yummy!).
Prepared packed lunches for me and The Hubby tomorrow.
Washed the dishes.
Cleaned up.
Refilled the pitchers.
Served The Hubby ice cream...

...and it wasn't even 9:30PM yet.

Please, Lord. Let there be more days like this.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

When I Grow Up

We had a launch event in Greenbelt last Friday. I usually hate going to these things, but my client needed the support, so I went.

These high-end parties--with the gorgeous models, celebrities, personalities, head honchos, all dressed in the latest fashions, possibly all branded, laughing, smoking, sipping their drinks, flashing their new phones and gadgets, talking loudly, apparently knowing everyone, swaying to the music, jewelry sparkling, nails neatly manicured, shoes spiffy and new looking, uncaring of the flesh exposed, most with no fat to speak of, swirling conversation...and no one paying the least attention to me--I hate them.

I am shy by nature and I don't do well in social situations. I sometimes have a hard time talking to my relatives! These events bring out all my insecurities and make me feel so inadequate. After, I always have myself a pity party.

But that last event, I did fine. I was actually talking to people-I mingled!--and I hardly looked the pitiful wallflower I normally feel. And no, it had nothing to do with my outfit. I was dressed practically in jeans and sneakers (with a nice halter blouse). No makeup, no jewelry. Not at all fasyon. I chatted up CEOs and big bosses. I talked to famous photographers. I did the small talk thing with an artista. The models still paid me no mind, but no loss there.

I think my problem lies in what I think others think of me. Then I realized that they probably don't even think of me. I most likely don't even register in their mind at all! But that doesn't matter.

I realize that my self worth isn't tied up in their opinion. I know who I am, and I know what I can and cannot do. And even better, I have a God who can work magic, who can make all those things I can't do on my own possible. And this I know--my God thinks the world of me. He adores me. And that's what really matters.

I think I've finally grown up.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


You know that he's spent the past two months slowly dying, and when he finally goes, it's like you're too numb to react. You praise God that the suffering is finally over. You text close friends and relatives, and they text you back with the expected "we're sorry for your loss, we will pray for you."

Then it hits you at the weirdest moments: while you're watering the plants, pounding garlic for fried rice, sweeping up doggie crap. He's gone. And you suddenly you realize that tears have been pouring down and you didn't even notice.

Akward in the best social situations, you are frightfully inept with death. You think, how hard can it be to say the right words? He was your grandfather, these people left are your family. But you still don't know what to say.

What do you tell your grandmother, who for the past two months has been camping out in the hospital, always ready with delicious adobo and rice to feed visitors who come? Do you tell her that it's OK, at least the suffering is done? What do you answer when she says she says she doesn't know what to do now, when her life has revolved around your grandfather for almost 60 years?

What do you tell your dad, who is trapped between guilt and relief; who has been struggling with the dilemma of withdrawing or continuing life support? Do you say he did the right thing? Do you believe that he did the right thing?

What do you tell the people, the well-meaning but equally inept people? You agree that yes, he's had a full life, a good 82 years. Maybe the last five weren't too great because of his Parkinsons, yes, but really, before that things were great. You realize that their trite condolences are from not knowing what to say.

Sometimes people ask you if you were close to your grandfather. What can you answer to that? Do you reveal that sometimes you still feel hurt that it was your brother, not you, who was his favorite grandchild? Do you say that you adored him as a child--that he was so generous, kind and really funny--but as you grew up, things became awkward? Do you say that you longed to tell him a million things, but when you were with him, you became so shy--so shy with your grandfather! how silly is that!--that you just kissed him hello, mumbled a few generic how-are-you-doing phrases and fled the room?

Sometimes, you remember the funny things your grandfather used to do. Like putting that cut-off stocking on his head, so that his dead-straight hair wouldn't stand. Or wandering around the house in his jockeys and sando. You think of how really nice he was. Like that time your brother--in his college-kid-angst-filled days--deliberately drove off, knowing that he had to take you to your dental appointment and your grandfather drove you there instead. Or how he'd slip you money whenever you came to visit that sometimes you were reluctant to visit, because he might think that you came only for the money. And you remember how, wheelchair-bound and sometimes barely lucid because of all his medication, he insisted on coming to your wedding, despite the grueling trip from Bulacan to Batangas. And how on your wedding day, he insisted on wearing his brand new Florsheim leather shoes, despite the sand, and the fact that he would just be in his wheelchair anyway.

You try to think why he fought so hard, so hard, to stay alive, when he was in obvious pain. When he couldn't communicate anymore, when all you could hear were his moans of pain and frustration. Sometimes you think would it have been better if he had Alzhiemers instead of Parkinsons, since the latter leaves your mind intact, trapped in a body you no longer control. And it's heartbreaking to dwell on that because your grandfather was one of the most brilliant minds you know, full of humor and wit.

You think that maybe he chose today to let go because it's your grandmother's birthday, and he wanted to be with her for another celebration of her life. Instead, it's a celebration of his death.

Then you think it's not really a celebration of death, a celebration of the end of his suffering, but a celebration of the life he's led and all the good things he's left behind.

And you try to wipe away your tears and move on. You know that it will still catch you unaware sometimes, these waves of sadness that squeeze your chest and make you cry at the weirdest places, the weirdest moments. You know that you will always miss him, but you also know this too shall pass.

And you hope that he somehow knew that you loved him, even if you were to shy or proud to show it.

And then you pray for strength and grace and comfort, and you find peace knowing that God will grant you these.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Things You Can Do with Mighty-Bonded Hands

Last night, in a moment of supreme duh-ness, I Mighty Bonded my fingers together.

I actually just wanted to repair my favorite pair of sandals. But the darn Mighty Bond wasn't coming out of the tube, so I squeezed harder and--shpleck--it overflowed, making the tube stick to the fingers of my right hand.

I yanked the tube off with my left hand, and yup, you guessed it. The tube stuck to my left hand. I tried to shake it off, and the tube went flying to the floor. But now my left thumb and index finger were glued together in a perpetual OK sign.

At that moment, I was overwhelmed by curiosity. Like how will it feel to have only three functioning fingers and no thumb? So I tried picking up various things, like the tube of Mighty Bond on the floor. Can't say last night was one of my more brilliant moments. More Mighty Bond spread around my other fingers, and yes, the tube got stuck to my hand once more.

With the tube stuck to me, I could easily read the warning: Eye and skin irritant. Instantly bonds skin. Like, wow. I didn't know that. It also said that in case of skin contact, remove with acetone. This does not work. I am now stuck with Mighty-Bonded hands (at least I managed to pry my thumb and finger apart with minimal pain--I figured that it would be more painful to pry them apart when the glue has completely dried).

Looking at the bright side, there are lots of useful things you can do with Mighty Bond coating your hands:

1. Exfoliate.
2. Really scratch that itch.
3. Sand down those rough edges on your table or stairs.
4. Remove lint from laundry, or even dog hair from the furniture.
5. Groom the dogs.
6. Commit a crime without leaving fingerprints (will double check with Grissom on this).

One thing that is hard to do, however, is shampoo. My hair kept getting caught on my fingers. And when that happens, the Mighty Bond coating tugs on the skin that it is firmly attached to, and it sort of hurts. So The Hubby shampooed my hair this morning.

I like The Hubby. I think I'll keep him Mighty Bonded to me forever.

Friday, February 03, 2006


The other week, as I was about to get into an FX bound for Makati, the barker (the guy who skillfully makes passengers into sardines inside every FX and van) said to me, "Misis, dyan na lang kayo sa harap."

Just as I was about to take umbrage and shoot him a laser beam look, it hit me. I AM a 'misis'.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

On Prayer & Fasting - For Chin

Hi Chin. Sorry it took me quite a while to get back to you. I would have wanted to email you privately, but you didn't leave an address. So public it is and I hope others will be able to make use if this post as well.

Prayer and fasting doesn't have to follow a specific, standard process, although it helps to prepare for it. Physically, you have to ease your body into it. Like a few days before, start cutting down on the amount you eat. Then taper off to fruits and vegetables a couple of days before. Plan your schedule so you don't do anything taxing (and don't accept dinner dates!). Scale down your physical activities as well (though you can still exercise).

Then commit to a type of fast before you start, like if you will have a water fast (you take water only); a liquid fast (broth and fresh juices, no artificial stuff or sugar; definitely no blendered burgers and fries); or a one-meal a day only (no pigging out at buffets!). Commit also to how long you will fast. As I mentioned previously, at the start of the year, we have a 7-day fast, and throughout the year, once a month. Other people fast from other things; my pregnant friend who had to eat skipped TV the entire fasting period instead. Others give up chatting, smoking (which I believe everyone should give up anyway), reading--something that is important to them.

Preparing spiritually might be a bit harder. This is what differentiates fasting from dieting or going into martyr mode. One of the best books I've read on fasting was "The Mystery of the Empty Stomach" by Joey Bonifacio (it's available in Victory Christian Fellowship bookstores in the Fort and Galleria). Fasting is all about your relationship with God, and he (Joey) likens it to a relationship between a bride and a groom. Us girls, I think, can relate better to this than men ever can. Think of it like when you're preparing for your wedding (or to see your boyfriend), you get so caught up in the preparations, that before you realize it, a day has gone by and you haven't eaten, but you don't mind. The thrill of seeing your groom and preparing is enough to keep you going. As my brother would perhaps put it--food, shmood.

I guess the best way to prepare spiritually is to up your prayer life. After all, fasting is a way to get even closer to God, to be more sensitive to him. So even beforehand, you can get into the mood by reading the bible more, talking to him more, being more conscious of his grace. And have faith. Believe that you can get through the fast.

While you fast, really try to seek God. And when God pinpoints specific areas in your life, make a commitment to change. During the fast, for me at least, it helped that I had some prayer points and something to reflect on (let me know if you want one, I can email you a copy). It helps me keep focused and reminds me why I fast. Of course, it's also a great way to count down till the time I can eat again!
Breaking the fast is like the reverse--start with fruits and veggies again, with smaller portions, before you go back into full blown meals. Believe me, rushing into full meals will make you sick! Then after the fast, keep up the prayer life. And be expectant--believe that you will get the breakthroughs that you are praying for. It helps to write these down, so you have a record of what God has done. You'll be amazed (I still am, when I read my faith goals over the past years).
I do hope this helps you, Chin. I'll be praying for you as well. God bless you beyond your wildest imagination.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Denial, Desire, Devotion

Yesterday evening, The Hubby and I (and probably more than a million people around the world) finally broke our seven-day fast. After four days of taking only water and three days of only liquids, the feel of actually chewing solid food was close to orgasmic.

This seven-day prayer and fasting is an annual habit--a great way to start the year. It's leaving off all personal, earthly desires and making yourself totally open to God's plans for you this year. It's a way of saying, "God, I rely only on you to sustain me." And man, it's amazing how he does.

Take note: I absolutely adore food; eating is one of my favorite things to do. Ask anyone--I get very grumpy when I'm hungry (isn't that like a man?). And The Hubby! Meals on time have often been the cause of our minor tiffs. His delicate tummy also can't handle absence of food for long. So you'd think that depriving ourselves of food would make us weak and very cross. On the contrary.

We were so perfectly fine. No hunger headaches, no wobbly legs, no cross-eyed stumbling around. I even was able to exercise a little, and my focus at work was superb. I tried this before--not eating in order to get thin. After several hours, I was sneaking in a few bites, which eventually evolved into an all-out pig out session. I can only say that it's the motivation--the desire to please God, to really open ourselves to him, to try to hear him--that made the difference.

They say that denying yourself earthly pleasures makes you more attuned to God, to what he has to say (of course it also makes you more attuned to the smell of the neighbors' cooking--kare-kare on the left side and ginisa on the right--as well as the very subtle smell of mangoes and very well-sealed packs of cookies). They're right. I find that God actually does have a lot to say to me.

One of the things that we talk about is my nasty habit of clinging to the past--past mistakes, past offenses, past decisions. I realized that I have this habit of living somewhere in between regret and what-ifs. He's getting me out of my comfort zones, and though I resist, he patiently coaxes me out. Though it sometimes feels like he upturns whatever box I've kept myself in.

Another thing we get into is my relationship with The Hubby. For the past year, I've been struggling to learn how to be a wife, and The Hubby are still feeling each other out (with the occasional feeling each other up--and that's allowed! We're married.). I just realized that I've been trying too hard, trying to be that perfect wifey that I have in my mind, without really considering what kind of wife The Hubby wants, what God wants. So it's a big change in perspective.

I also discovered that it really pays to keep God in the center of your marriage. For the first time, The Hubby and I started praying together. As in really praying, not the usual thank-you-Lord-for-the-food-and-other blessings quickie that we usually do at meals. But praying with passion and conviction, praying for others, praying for ourselves and our plans, praying for each other. It was amazing. Not only did I feel closer to God, but I never felt so close to The Hubby as I did after we prayed. And lighting spiritual passion lit up my other--ahem--passions too ;p I guess what they say is true: for women, you have to really be in synch mentally, emotionally and spiritually to get optimum physical in-synchness. And The Hubby says amen to that.

Prayer and fasting also gives us a chance to start fresh. It's breaking free of all things that hold us back, that bind us, that keep us from fulfilling our purpose here. After all, didn't Christ die to set us free? It's exhilirating to know that I am free. I. Am. Free!

Oh, and as a side effect to fasting and starting over, we lost some pounds and some flab here and there. It's like we get to start fresh with a semi-new body as well. The Hubby and I have committed to eat better and exercise more this year.

So here's to a year dedicated to God, overflowing with his abundance and grace!

After our first meal after the fast, The Hubby asked, "Do you know what I want right now?" I nodded. We were totally in synch. We gazed deeply into each other's eyes, slowly licked our lips... and lustfully tore open our packs of Boy Bawang cornick.