Monday, October 31, 2005

Day Four: Island Hopping

Up early for boating around the island and others nearby. Snorkeling off Crocodile Island. Yoshi wanted to try even that. He’s as fearless as his mommy is feisty. The corals and fishes were so alive and colorful.

Picking seashells in Puka Beach. There was a boy selling necklaces of shells and beads. He pointed out the names of the shells and stones I picked. He also regaled me with bits and pieces of island life. He said that the locals do not really care about the celebrities who go there, it’s the people from the city also who hound them. (Flashback to Jon posing with Karel.) He was brilliant and amazing so naturally I felt compelled to buy at least something from his severely-overpriced goods. Whaddaheck, I’ll never see him again.

Yoshi played with his shampoos and ate his scrambled eggs in the middle of the ocean. I know he wasn’t exchanged in the nursery or something because he’s just slightly off-kilter, just like his mommy.

Rush to make it to the 12 noon boat to Roxas. Malen remarks we’re all like Superman na kinakaya lahat. I heartily agree. We saw the gates of the big boat close just as our little ferry docked. You could hear five adult hearts breaking at the sight (and a little girl’s too). So Jon and I didn’t turn out as good at beating boat-related deadlines than school-related ones. To make matters worse, the 3PM boat had one engine busted so it went real slow. The ultimate loser was this karaoke which everyone lined up for and paid P15 per song. There was someone who sang the lousiest rendition you’ve ever heard of Colors of the Wind. I wouldn’t even recognize it if I haven’t heard that darned song one time too many. Good thing May stayed put for a few minutes to keep me entertained. She even remembers that I bought her ice cream when Jon brought her to UP Law when she was only three. I love talking to kids. They’re refreshingly honest and surprisingly perceptive than some adults can ever hope to be.

It was dark when we finally reached Mindoro. The way to Chuchi’s house in Calapan was mostly unlit and open fields. Yosh kept pointing at the dark and saying mumu in his usual teasing, naughty way. I couldn’t help but think Blair Witch. Groan.

Chuchi’s house was really nice. It had all these nooks and crannies with precious little items that they must have accumulated through the years. I wish our house can someday be like that – teeming with memories of happy times with family and friends.

This was around midnight already. We all promptly doze off.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Day Three: Nothing but Water

Jonah’s banana choco peanut milkshakes first thing in the morning. I walk all the way to Seawind while Ches and Yosh frolic by the sand bar. There was a hammock tied almost to the tops of two coconut trees (like in the Ginebra commercial) and it was a mystery to all of us if anyone ever really uses it.

Bought beads and batik stuff. A Muslim woman was singing while looking after her wares. I think it was a prayer, part of the Ramadan. It was beautiful.

Looked all over for Honey Bee in the old talipapa that burned down. Ended up having lunch in Mongkok. So un-Bora but we were hot and hungry and had two little boys who were getting uncontrollable by the minute.

Ches and I get henna tattoos. The dozen or so flowerettes on my ankle make me feel like such a goddess. The same artist works on Karel (?) Marquez a few minutes later. She has “Dream On” tattooed on the small of her back. Jon considers sitting beside her and being tattooed “I Will” in the same place. He contents himself with a picture beside her.

Saw a Korean-looking woman walking to like the middle of the ocean carrying two pairs of pastel high heels. And you thought Pinoys were weird.

On our way to dinner, Jon realizes he’s missing his Polo slippers. I decide to treat everyone to dinner in this Mexican resto, Manana, to make him feel better. After all, we both belong to the fellowship of blooperhood. I mean, it could easily have been me who lost the slippers. It will be so like me. Not to mention, Jon doesn’t wear anything cheaper than maybe P5k. We used to tease him in law school that even his briefs must be Lacoste.

The dinner was expensive, but it cheered us up. Jon treated us to crepes in Café Breizh (another Bora must-go-to place). We all had a good laugh over our kids’ strange obsessions and hilarious antics. It never fails to amuse my friends when they learn that I didn’t walk until I was 18 months old and crawled backwards before that and didn’t talk until I was three (so Ches says I’m still making up for it). My teacher-aunt blamed my dad for drinking too much, saying the alcohol got into my system and I’d probably flunk the NCEE. Hey, Einstein didn’t talk until he was three. How many people can claim an uncanny similarity like that with the great genius? Duh.

We saw familiar faces from UP Law. You always see someone you know in Bora. I’ve reunited with long-lost high school classmates during one of my previous outings there.

No room for inihaw na daing na pusit tonight.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Day Two: A Very Rocky Road to Paradise

… the highlight of which was the Tamaraw Falls in Puerto Galera. It was simply breathtaking in its power and beauty. It more than made up for the long stretch of a rough road that looked and felt like it would never end.

Yosh and I counted mini-waterfalls and carabaos to entertain ourselves. His first word when he woke up was “swim”. Along the way he ate like his 10th scrambled egg for the journey. His pedia said we should limit his egg intake. I know she means well but if it’s all that my baby would eat I’ll feed it to him. Whaddaheck, it was I who bore him in my tummy for nine months and gave birth to him after 14 hours of labor and no anesthesia. Not the frigging pedia.

Ches is listening to the I Am Sam soundtrack. I realize it’s perfect for road trips, especially Two of Us (“Two of us riding nowhere, spending someone’s hard-earned pay. You and me Sunday driving, not arriving, on our way back home… You and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches out ahead…”)

Passed by all these people clad in white shirts cleaning up the sidewalks. We learn from streamers that it’s part of the local government’s Lingap Kalikasan program. If only everyone would do something like that all thru-out the country, we’d live in a cleaner, healthier place.

We were among the last on board. They weren’t even going to let us in anymore if we were bringing our cars. Jon and I marveled at how good we are at cramming even for boat rides. I go back to Stardust. It’s an exciting adult fairy tale perfect for an uneventful and insufferably lengthy sojourn at sea.

Finally, paradise. No matter how many times you’ve been there, the clear blue waters and the powdery white sands of Boracay just never fail to startle and awe. It’s the same even when you’ve been staying there a couple of days - when you wake up and see the beach, you just get this rush of happiness for simply being alive.

The first thing Yoshi wants to do is buy shampoos in this store in front of our resort. Groan. He’s obsessed with shampoos. Blame it on those ever present commercials on TV and billboards everywhere in Metro Manila. We cannot go to the grocery without buying him shampoos. He brings his sachets and bottles everywhere. Even his imaginary friends, Bobby and Sasha, have their own favorite shampoos (Rejoice and Sunsilk, respectively. He’s pretty consistent about it.)

When we get out of the water after the sun sets, we come across Angel Aquino carrying and singing to her daughter who was almost as tall as her. That’s a nice sight anywhere, even if it didn’t involve an artista.

Dinner in this seafoods resto. Shopping in D’ Mall. I make Ches buy me inihaw na daing na pusit on our way home. I’ve always loved its smell but as a child was forbidden to eat it coz it was dirty street food. I try to make up for my deprived childhood every chance I get.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Day One: Wet and Lost

It rained all day and all night before our grand adventure to Puerto Galera and Boracay. It’s Jon’s luck all over again. I love to tease him that topping the Bar is like winning the Oscars – it’s all downhill from there.

Five minutes into our five-day trip, I realize I forgot to bring any socks for Yosh. I borrow a pair of EJ’s from Malen. I’m pretty sure this is not the last of the items I forgot.

Jon got us lost a couple of times on the way to the Batangas Pier. It turns out that all the while he was having a telecon with I have no doubt a big-shot client who cannot grasp the concept of a vacation leave and expects you to be at his beck and call just because he pays you $135 per hour, which goes straight to the coffers of the firm and never to your pockets anyway. I so do not miss those clients.

We were the last two cars in the boat. Parking them in was like an elaborate dance choreographed by the able staff who directed the drivers to move the car in such a way that they all fit perfectly. I begin to read Stardust in the upper deck while Ches and Yosh explore the surroundings.

Puerto Galera was really beautiful with the unique combination of the water and mountains. Still, it was good that we went there before Boracay coz then it would’ve been such a letdown. As my seven-year-old nephew Jonathan would say, it’s like comparing a giant to a germ.

Yoshi and May take to the beach like fish. (They’re best friends by the end of the trip. Shark Boy and Lava Girl.) EJ is content just throwing the sand back into the water. Ches picks seashells for me. It’s these little things about him that I love. Jon decides to have a henna tattoo. That was part of the itinerary he e-mailed me: 3 PM, arrive in Galera, 3:15 PM, get henna tattoo. Ha ha. I so love teasing Jon.

Ches watched Jaws in HBO. Last time we were in Boracay I watched Cast Away. Perfectly appropriate movies for sea travelers like us who cannot swim to save our lives.

I realize I forgot to bring brassieres save for the one I was wearing plus a couple of bikini tops. I have like three dozen perfectly nice pairs and did not even remember to bring three lousy ones. Groan.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Just finished my second Neil Gaiman. Coraline is this hyper, clever girl who opens a magical door that leads to a house just like her own, where parents, neighbors and pets just like her own live, only they’re more sinister in this other house. It’s like a darker, creepier Alice in Wonderland. It’s brilliant. Neverwhere is this place below the London as we know it, inhabited by strange and delightful characters – a girl named Door, an angel who turns out to be the enemy, a marquis who knows everything including evading death, and a human who in the end decides to give up normal London for a life in London Below.

What an imagination. Where do these people get their ideas? I know that J.K. Rowling thought up Harry Potter to entertain her kids, but she could’ve stopped at a frog who turned into a prince when kissed. Instead, she thought of quidditch, a breathtaking flying and diving game, and magic spells and potions that can turn you into a lovesick puppy or kill you on the spot, and characters as crazy and fascinating as Luna Lovegood and the Weasly Twins. She’s a genius. (Gosh, I love Harry Potter. I cried when Sirius and Dumbledore died. Ron, Harry, Hermione and the rest of the gang are my best friends. I hate to see it end in Book 7. Please don’t let it end.)

The thing with all this magic and fantasy and adventure genre is, it’s not just all about letting your imagination run wild. They still must have a point. Everything must all come together in the end for a noble purpose, like to save the earth from the dark forces of evil or something. I mean, I don’t think Lord of the Rings would’ve had sequels and prequels or even seen print in the first place if the hobbits’ motives for finding the ring were completely selfish, like maybe to use its power to grow into normal humans or to have average-sized ears.

Once again I am thankful to God for books. And movies. And chocolate.

P.S. It just occurred to me. Brits are so darned creative. Gaiman, Rowling, Tolkien. Even C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl. Not to forget Mr. Bean and Bridget Jones.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Another Baby in the Family

My sister-in-law is pregnant. My little brother is going to be a daddy. It’s the best news I’ve heard in months.

She asked me whether natural childbirth hurt a lot. I looked at her like she was dumb or something. Of course it hurt a lot. It hurt like hell. The pain spreads from your tummy to your back and right in the middle down there till it reaches and fills what feels like the very core of your being. It makes you toss and turn and alternately scream then silently weep and curse your husband for getting you pregnant in the first place. When the contraction ends, you calm down and try to focus on a picture on the wall like they taught you in childbirth preparation class and get into your breathing and relaxation techniques … until the contraction hits again and once more you are reduced to a writhing, whining mess.

But then I remember the pure agony of getting up at least three times during the night to breastfeed an eternally hungry infant, at a time when your nipples are already so sore from all the suckling and your episiotomy is still so raw that you can never find a sitting position that doesn’t hurt, especially not for the full hour or so that it takes for the baby to have his fill. I still recall the depression that you can sink into when your baby falls from the bed or won’t eat or won’t stop coughing for days and you just know that you’re all to blame because you’re an inadequate, inexperienced little mommy whose only contribution to the world is to make stupid, useless legal opinions for unreasonable, demanding clients. I also think of the utter helplessness that can overcome you when your baby has to have his shots or his nebulizer treatment and you know it’s hurting him and he’s scared – he’s so little, dammit - and you’d give everything to feel the pain and the fear in his place but there’s just nothing you can do. And I still feel the tragedy of having to go out to earn a living while you leave your son to his yaya or lola or lolo, who will have the privilege to witness his first wobbly step or hear his first nasty word. (My heart still breaks every morning when I see Yoshi peering out of the door as I leave for the office, never mind that he’s already two and I could be home technically by 5:10. My heart just breaks, anyway. Every morning without fail when I see Yoshi standing there.)

So when you look at it from the grand scheme of things, natural childbirth is actually the easiest part of motherhood. Chicken feed.

I turn to my sister-in-law and tell her, no, natural childbirth doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t hurt at all.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Love of Friends

I just love friends. They’re perfect. There are as comfortable as family, but you don’t have to live with them under the same roof 24/7 and inevitably get into each other’s nerves. They’re not like acquaintances with whom mere talking is an effort. With friends, you can do absolutely nothing and still have the greatest fun. You can just be yourself with them and they love you, anyway.

I remember the sweetest things my best friends have done for me all these years. Phoebe (who’s my oldest, oldest friend since I was a little girl with braces and an obsession for Sweet Dreams) went straight to my house after breaking up with her first ever boyfriend. I think it’s sweet when friends choose you to confide in about their heartaches and tragedies. Nini picked me to be her maid of honor, at a time when I looked really terrible at only 90 pounds or so after a bout with measles. Nico used to wait up for me after class in Pol Sci so he could invite me for a movie or dinner or just a walk around campus. Back then I dreaded these little outings coz they often ended way into the night and my Dad always gave me hell for staying out so late when I had a class at 7 the next morning. (He honestly thought I attended those classes? Fathers are so clueless.) On hindsight, I realize it was really sweet of Nico to want to spend time with me when he could’ve been with his guy friends drinking beer or stuff. Gay wrote me a letter to say that the girls want to be a little more like me because I was a sweet soul who took delight over the simplest things and because I was a genuinely kind person. (I’m not making this up, I promise.) Gay is my World Youth Day buddy and forever seatmate all thruout law school. She made me cry in her speech at my wedding. Amelle gave me the loveliest birthday cards from her greeting card collection from all over the world. This taught me the greater joy of giving something that you’d really rather keep for yourself as opposed to something you can easily dispense with.

Randy is always bringing me pistachios and Maltesers and lending me his latest Toni Morrison, Nadine Gordimer and Maya Angelou. We can spend the entire afternoon just lying on the grass by the creek in Beta Way, talking about dogs, past and present. (Obviously, we share a passion for food, books and pets.) Kai gave me countless, endless letters about anything from boyfriend troubles to cramming woes to her cousin’s friend’s in-laws’ squabbles. Kai and Randy also gave me the most wholesome bridal party ever, with gifts like a porcelain ballerina doll and a really clinical and not even remotely titillating sex manual of sorts.

My QT friends also surprised me with a party on my last day at work before my wedding leave. They all sang Harana while Jon played the guitar and Donemark sang the chorus by phone patch coz he was attending a hearing in Davao. Donemark gave up Davao to be my wedding singer. Jon gave up Boracay to be my veil sponsor and also tried to arrange for the UP carillon to play our favorite love songs while Ches and I made our way from the UP Chapel to the reception in Bahay ng Alumni. Rhoel was my wedding host and I think it’s really sweet that when I asked him if I could play Tuwing Umuulan at my wedding, he said why not and did not make his usual disparaging remarks.

Thom, who is known as my Siamese twin in the office because we do everything together, is always texting or calling to offer me a ride home or to the office or wherever whenever he’s in the vicinity. He's also always tugging at my hair, pulling my earrings, biting into my sandwich uninvited - just like a pesky little brother, really. Rommel said he loves me for who I am (this after reading my blog on blooper girls). He’s one of the few people in the office who was really nice to me at a crucial time when I was just starting out in my new job. I could’ve turned out to be a real snob or something, but that’s a risk he took and for which I will be eternally grateful. Our friendship has shown me that you are never too old to make new friends. And you never know, you could be sharing so many uncanny things with the person sitting next to you – like maybe your passion for old churches or how The Feather Theme from Forrest Gump makes you both want to cry. So you always have to be ready with an open heart and a warm smile. He could be another keeper.

There are so many other good friends who have done so many other sweet things through the years. There’s Kaye, Malou, Bambi, Hannah, Ron, Don, Monch, friends I hardly ever see anymore but who will always remain special, who will be in my prayers every night.

The sweetest thing a friend has ever done for me? No contest. My best friend married me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Indies and Goodies

I have nothing against big-budget, big-stars, Oscar-contender type movies that live up to all the media hype, like, say, Forrest Gump, Dances with Wolves, and lately, Cinderella Man. It’s just that I have greater respect for little-known, usually independently-produced (hence, the term “indie”) films acted in by unrecognizable faces and often dealing with taboo or plain quirky themes. Some of these films manage to become hugely popular (like My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Spanglish) and some even make it all the way to the Oscars or Golden Globes (like Lost in Translation and Sideways). But most of them remain obscure to the general viewing public, forever unknown except to serious film critic types and weirdos like myself (and a few of my friends).

It is precisely this obscurity that attracts me to indies. You start the movie not expecting anything much or, come to think of it, even knowing much about it, and when the movie ends, it’s like, wow, you just feel so privileged to have stumbled upon a gem that nobody else seems to be aware of. Rommel likens watching Crash to eating a good oyster where you find the sweetest, meatiest parts in the most unlikely places if you only know where to look. (I love it when that guy waxes poetic.)

Part of the charm of indies also is that they can be so un-Hollywood, so far removed from the movies we know with plots that start with an intro to the story, and then a problem comes up, and the hero solves the problem or they all die or someone gets married and they all live happily ever after. In Before Sunrise, nothing major ever happens. There’s just Jessie and Celine who talk and talk and talk through their train ride and all around Vienna. They continue all this talking in Before Sunset, but all around Paris this time. (Gosh, I love these two films. Thank you thank you dear Ches for buying me the DVDs.) In Garden State, the characters played by Zach Braff and Natalie Portman are just a couple of kids coping with their own hang-ups (he with his dependence on anti-depressants, she with her compulsion to lie), going out with friends, falling in love. Zach also wrote and directed the film. (What a hottie. He’s in my List of Men I’m Allowed to Have Extra-Marital Relations With. He’s probably Natalie’s classmate in Harvard. Just a guess.)

These films are closer to reality than Hollywood can ever hope to be. I mean, just how many times do you engage in a car chase or even have a dramatic confrontation with your spouse, complete with monologue and shouting and walking out of the house? Just how many times do aliens invade the earth, for gosh sakes? Practically never. More often, in real life, nothing much ever happens for months on end. But this doesn’t make reality any less beautiful or not interesting enough for the big screen. For me, nothing beats the sweetness of words that loved ones manage to come up with from out of nowhere everyday, the little wonder moments that will never be earth-shaking but make us smile and feel good about the world, anyway. I think it’s this simple and often startling beauty in the mundane that indies try to capture. (Of course, some people watch movies precisely to get away from reality, to witness the sheer spectacle in, say, Star Wars or Indiana Jones. I love these movies, too, but that’s another blog.)

What I really respect about indies is that they deal with themes that not a lot of people would care about, much less pay a couple of bucks to see in a theater. The Girl in the Café was all about this gypsy type girl who tagged along on an impulse with this really ancient government executive to the G8 conference in Iceland. Did the makers honestly think that people were going to line up for that kind of movie? I don’t think so. But they did it, anyway. Sometimes we do things not because they’ll make us popular or bring in the money. There are things that we do simply out of passion, for the pure pleasure and gratification of doing something for yourself alone.

I can just so relate to that.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Not the Luckiest Day

I lost my new cell phone. To this heartless, soulless creature who also slashed my Guess bag. That bag hasn’t even been in Philippine soil for 24 hours. And my cell phone is not even two weeks old.

It’s a major tragedy, I know. And, as always, when something like this happens, I just console myself with the thought that I didn’t lose anything more valuable, like maybe my puppy or my IBP license. I mean, a cell phone is just an object. It’s just money. At the end of the day, what are the things that really matter? Well, that my family and friends are all healthy and comfortable and at peace, that I’m not hurting anyone and I’m earning an honest living, and that I’m alive and perfectly capable of enjoying a good book or movie or chocolate bar.

It’s these things that really matter, these things that no heartless, soulless slasher-snatcher can ever take away.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Baby Shirts

Jen sent me the daintiest baby shirts from the States. I have them in black and pastel, with butterfly and flower prints, beads and sequins, and with quotes like “Call Me Your Highness” and “Being a Princess is All Play and No Work”. It’s all so Jo, as Ches would say. I even have a Tinkerbell shirt with matching ruffled miniskirt that I can see from the label is for 7 year olds. I also got this loud orange two-piece bikini that I so love because it perfectly hides my motherhood stretch marks. She also sent me the littlest denim bag from Gap. Teody bought me a Guess bag with a big orchid print and little pink beads. He’s my favorite brother-in-law.

Ches wondered if Jen has forgotten that I am already a mommy, not to mention a lawyer by profession. And I told him, she’s my sister, she knows exactly what my little heart desires. I mean, isn’t she the girl who knows stuff about me that I cannot even remember because I was still so little when they happened? Only recently I found out from her that I used to sleepwalk as a toddler, tho my version involved dancing wildly on the bed with my eyes closed.

I’m the happiest sister on earth.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Beach Boys

When people learned whose concert it was Ches and I were going to last Friday, everyone felt compelled to ask why. Well, why not? I love the Beach Boys. Their songs are all light and easy and make you feel like all is good in the world. I mean, can you think of a happier song in the entire earth than Kokomo? It’s the music of our parents’ childhood. It takes us back to a time when the world was a gentler place, more innocent and free.

The crowd was positively geriatric. Grandparent types would cling to my arm – or any other body part they could hold on to - as they passed by. But advanced age notwithstanding, there were the usual hecklers, who booed RJ Jacinto to wrap up his front act and get the boys out already. There were a lot of dancers, too – mostly Caucasians who came in full force, with their blond hair and sequined tops and boundless confidence. Ches and I were just enjoying the music, but you can tell that most couples there were nostalgic and reliving memories with songs like I Get Around, Surfer Girl and God Only Knows. (We figure we’ll feel like that when the Eraserheads have their reunion concert 20 years from now.) I so envied this old guy a few feet away from me who let out wolf whistles all throughout. It’s this thing where you put your two fingers in your mouth and produce this really cool and lusty whistle. I should’ve spent the last five years of my life learning how to wolf whistle instead of working in a law office. Dang. As Becky Bloomwood would say, I’ll be known as The Girl with the Wolf Whistle.

The second best part of the evening – the first best part was, of course, singing and dancing to Kokomo and Don’t Worry Baby – was that we went to the concert from work without having had the time for dinner. I asked Ches if he was really hungry and he said he could use a hotdog. Surprise, just as I was getting back from the washroom during intermission, there was a hotdog girl who was down to her last two sandwiches. There was a couple behind me who asked her over and over if she was still coming back with more. They were desperately hungry, apparently. Well, sorry, better luck next concert. It’s times like this that make me feel like all the forces of the universe collaborate to make one thing just right for me. It’s times like this that make me feel like I am such a goddess.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Blooper Girls (and Boy)

As I wrote in a previous blog, Becky Bloomwood of the Shopaholic series is my goddess not only because she’s, well, a shopaholic, but also because she has this talent for getting into truly mortifying situations where you wish you would just die on the spot. I’m cursed with a similar talent.

Example #1:

We were freshmen in UP. Winston confided to me and Nico that he liked Amor and was planning to court her. He swore the two of us to secrecy. Amor appears out of nowhere. Here is my recollection of what happens next:

Me (and my big mouth): Speak of the devil.

A: You were talking about me?

Me: Er…

Nico gives me the evil eye.

A: Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Me: Oh, good thing, definitely!

Nico looks like he’s about to bop me in the head. Winston vividly blushes.

A: So what is it about?

Me: Secret e. Sorry.

A: Kahit in general terms lang.

Me (relieved): Oh, ok. General terms. Winston here likes you.

Nico’s mouth just hangs open. I think it was at this precise point where he fell in love with me. (I love you, too, sweetie:))

Example #2:

Rhoel’s post-passing the Bar blow-out. The only person in the party who looks familiar is his blockmate who’s been married since law school. (She shall remain anonymous for my own safety and well-being.) I approach her and make small talk.

Me: Hi! Buntis ka pala?

Her (definitely offended but still smiling): Hindi ako buntis! Tumaba lang ako.

Lesson #1: Never, ever assume that someone is pregnant. Nine out of ten times she’s just grown fat.

Me: Oh, ok. (Blah blah blah. Small talk about how difficult the Bar exam was, how lucky we are that we passed, etc.)

Me (saying the first thing that comes to mind to fill in an awkward silence): Kelan nga ulit ang due date mo?

Her (now with a slight edge to her voice): Hindi nga ako buntis. Ang kulit mo, ha.

Me: Oo nga pala. Sorry.

Lesson #2: Even when you’re just making small talk, listen when the other person is talking instead of looking around at other people or other people’s food.

(Small talk about which batchmates are working with which law firm or justice and who’s getting what perks, etc.)

Me: So … sino’ng mas mauunang manganak, ikaw o si Maggie?

Her (unmistakably, frighteningly pissed): HINDI. AKO. BUNTIS!!!

Lesson #3. Learn some really good magic so you can make the floor open up and swallow you when you need to disappear … right away!

I’m not a mean person, I’m really not. It’s just that … well, maybe my mouth talks faster than my brain can think sometimes. Rhoel calls it “foot-in-mouth” disease. I’m not alone here. Andrea has it, too. She has this knack for saying the one thing that is sure to offend someone within hearing distance, if not the exact person she’s talking to. This is the same girl who one Christmas gave away gifts with price tags. Well, that wasn’t entirely her fault but still … it had to happen to her. In fact, I think part of this … this thing that we have is that sometimes we don’t even need to lift a finger and some spectacularly stupid thing happens to us, anyway. (Btw, Andrea is a valedictorian of Ateneo Law and #9 in the Bar. Definitely not stupid.)

And what about the time Chuchi texted her ex to thank him for the lovely date they’ve just had, except that she didn’t send it to her ex but to her current. This promptly led to their longest break-up in history. (I can write an entire blog about missent texts, I swear.)

Girls do not have a monopoly on this ... ability. Jon (who not only graduated #7 in UP Law but was also #1 in the Bar, with a whopping score of 90+%, like the Bar was chicken feed) is famous for leaving important pieces of clothing at home and showing up in the office in some disheveled shirt that he retrieved from the trunk of the car. Who can forget the time when we were apprentices in Carpio Villaraza and Cruz and he forgot his leather shoes in far-away Bulacan so he had to go around the law office in his Islander slippers? It had to be the one day that whole summer when we met Atty. Carpio himself in the elevator. There was also the time he had to borrow a kitchen staff’s belt because he forgot his own and his pants just won’t hold up right without a belt. That was a classic.

Rommel suggested I publish something about all my bloopers, like the girl who compiled her bitchy poems and made money out of it. Oh, I don’t know. I don’t really wanna go down in history as a blooper girl or something. I prefer to project the image of this forever-composed, never-a-hair-out-of-place kind of sophisticated, intelligent lawyer.

Yeah, right. Like that is ever going to happen.

Love in Poems

Here's my list of Top 5 loveliest thoughts in the most beautiful poems.

Sonnet XVII
Pablo Neruda

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving
but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.”

somewhere I have never traveled
e.e. cummings

“nothing we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands”

Shut Up
Marguerite Burnat-Provins

“You've never seen that shining nimbus that circles your head during times
I wish were fatal, they give me so much happiness.
You've never seen your eyes where the whole sky catches fire and dies
in the pleasure of my caresses.
You don't hear the words which dissolve my soul and lead it toward paradise.
You don't know anything, so shut up.”

Funeral Blues
W.H. Auden

“He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.”

Kat’s Poem
Karen McCullah Lutz & Kirsten Smith

“I hate you so much it makes me sick.
It even makes me rhyme.
I hate the way you're always right.
I hate it when you lie.
I hate it when you make me laugh;
Even worse when you make me cry.
I hate it that you're not around.
And the fact that you didn’t call,
But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you;
Not even close;
Not even a little bit;
Not any at all.”

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Best Hugs

I prefer hugs to kisses. They last longer and involve more body parts. They are so much more giving, so much more intimate. With just one hug, you can tell your huggee a dozen things, like maybe that you’re really delighted to see him, or that you’ll protect him with your life, or that you don’t ever wanna let go.

What are my most memorable hugs? Well, there was the hug Ches and I shared after he proposed to me over ice cream and halo-halo in Icebergs. He said “Will you marry me?” and I gave him hell coz he hasn’t even paid for his car or finished his masters or bought me the Hello Kitty watch I wanted, etc., etc., and he looked like he was about to cry so then I said “Ok. Why not?”, and then I hugged him and then we were both crying like crazy. That hug started our new life together. I also remember the hug I gave Pops at the end of the aisle on my wedding. It was a long, tearful hug, one that I meant to convey to my father my gratitude for the 26 years he loved me unfailingly and unconditionally, and my reassurance that even if I was getting married already I’ll always be his baby. Mama also gave me a tight hug after I gave birth to Yoshi (after 14 hours of labor and no anesthesia). It made me feel like it was my greatest accomplishment, that she was prouder of me at that moment than, say, when I graduated with honors or when I passed the Bar. There was also the hug I gave Jen the night she and Teody left for the States. She is a full three years older than me, but I have always been the more daring and independent sister. With my hug I wanted to give her all the strength and confidence she needed to start a new life in a foreign land. She left Heaven to me, the dog she often claims to love more than her husband. So when Heaven died without seeing Jen again, all I could do was cry in my room – I was just so sad for Jen and Heaven and myself – and I got out only when Ches came home from work and I could cling on to him for a much-needed hug.

We went to Jervin’s despedida on Friday. At the end of the night Ches and Jervin hugged and all the girls - including of course me – were sniffing and on the verge of tears. Jervin has been Chester’s partner in crime in harassing the girls in PMS for as long as they’ve been both there. (I just hate goodbyes.)

Yoshi hugged everyone in the party. He has this special hug that involves putting his chubby little arms around your neck, burying his head on your shoulders, patting you on the back with his hands and saying “Hug hug” over and over.

When a two-year-old hugs you like that, you can’t ask for anything more.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Yoshi peed on my celfone …

… so I had to buy a new one. The new one is slim and light and calls and texts, so it’s fine by me. The old one was irreparably damaged. The technician said the pee went right to the most important part, the power amplifier or something, so the phone lost its signal altogether and forever. It was one of those freak accidents that just leave you shaking your head in bewilderment – Yoshi stood up by the headboard to look over the window at Ginger the cat, said “Wee wee” after the fact (he’s been toilet-trained for months but because Garci the puppy is peeing all over the place, Yoshi seems to be regressing to a similar behavior) and when Ches picked up my celfone from under my pillow (where I put it when I sleep every night since I started having one), it was just dripping with the wee wee. The technician was surprised that the phone didn’t smoke up outright.

This is even more heartbreaking than the time Yoshi split my Kill Bill DVD right down the middle. Ches and I marvel at how our son can be such a destructive little force at the ripe old age of two. Hay, parenthood.