Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Of Love and Weddings

Went to Rommel’s wedding last week. Ches and I loved it. It was sweet and heartfelt, not too much gimmicks and personalities. There was a video of the couple talking about their love story, singers who sang their favorite love songs, a compatibility game for the married (which Ches and I promptly lost owing to his compulsion to get into the specifics of everything coupled with my failing memory), fortune cookies, beaded bookmarks for wedding souvenirs. The best part was the chocolate cupcakes. Yum.

We’ve been to a wedding where the coordinators just lorded it over by the sheer number of them. You couldn’t even talk to any member of the entourage bcoz their makeup was being retouched like every 30 minutes or so. And like 60 million pictures of the bride and groom were taken in church and before the reception so we were all famished by the time we were allowed to have our dinner. The photographer even had the final say on when the couple could hug or kiss their parents. Hello?!?

I also know of a bride who was in a foul mood right from the start coz the music she marched to down the aisle wasn’t the one she chose. I would’ve been pissed off too but I would’ve gotten over it quickly. At our wedding, the church seats for the entourage got all mixed up so my Dad ended up sitting all alone (and this after we’ve both just cried our hearts out while walking down the aisle together). And no one remembered to take a picture of our choir, composed of a college friend and his classmates from the UP College of Music. (What can I say? We didn’t have any coordinators. It was just me and my sis and Randy and Kai.) But it was the happiest day of my life, anyway. I felt the prettiest I’ve ever been, and all my loved ones were around to share in our joy, and our friends all made speeches about how we were their favorite couple and same such lies, and I was just waiting for the honeymoon part (not to mention opening the gifts and envelopes).

These days, there are so many gimmicks you can do for a wedding. Multi-color motifs, pets as part of the entourage, fireworks, bubble machines, butterflies. I can understand that any girl would want to personalize her wedding as much possible and wouldn’t want anything just run-of-the-mill or something. But I just feel in some weddings that it’s all about putting on a show and a production and every little thing has to be perfectly choreographed and captured on film. Last time I checked, a wedding was supposed to be a celebration of love between two people crazy enough to take the plunge and vow before God to basically stay faithful and take care of each other forever. What you need for that kind of thing is commitment and trust from your would-be spouse, and the presence and encouragement of family and friends. Tulips imported from Holland or Swarovskis hanging from the chandelier are not mandatory.

Robert Fulghum says that the real wedding happens way before the ceremony. It takes place when the couple is driving somewhere or talking over dinner, and they discuss about where they’re going to live, how many kids to have, whether to allocate a portion of the household budget for chocolates, and all these serious and silly issues. And once they make compromises and seal it with more hugs and kisses than you’ll ever see in public, that’s it – that’s the wedding.

I’ve always agreed with Mr. Fulghum on many points.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Forever Jeans

I’ll be a much happier person and a better one over-all if I could just wear jeans everyday. I’ll strut around confidently, sit anywhere and anyhow I like without having to worry about exposing my womanhood to the whole world, and just be more relaxed and contented with my life. I just know it.

My love affair with jeans started in college. Oh, I wore them as early as grade school, but it was in college that I wouldn’t wear anything else. I had the odd dress and skirt for weddings and stuff, but if I had any shopping money I rushed to the nearest Levi’s store. Now I’ve branched out to jeans from Kamiseta, Bayo and Plains and Prints. (I try to patronize these brands. Lovely clothes of good quality. And proudly Pinoy, best of all.)

I remember my interview in the UP College of Law. It has got to be one of the shortest ever – I think less than 10 minutes, and half the time I was grilled on an issue completely unrelated to the legal profession: why I was wearing jeans. I made up some excuse about coming to the interview straight from a summer vacation in the province, but the truth was, it just didn’t occur to me to dress up coz all the law students and even some of the professors wore jeans to class anyway. Duh? I did wear my prettiest floral top. What more could they ask for?

When I was pregnant, the one thing I missed most was wearing jeans. Oh, I had those jeans for preggies with adjustable buttons to fit all trimesters and all, but it’s not just the same wearing jeans when you have a grossly distended belly. I would’ve worn jeans going home from the hospital right after I gave birth, except that my episiotomy was still so raw and sore. Ouch.

The book The Five People You Meet in Heaven talks about a certain moment which will stand out over all the others in memory when you think of your true love. It could be the first time you met, or your wedding day as your bride walks down the aisle, or whatever. I asked Ches what his one-true-love memory of me was, and he said it was when I’d wait for him in the APSM tambayan in between classes, wearing my jeans and a big smile like I was the happiest girl on earth.

For once, my husband knows just the right answer to my question, exactly what I wanted to hear. Wonders will never cease.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Saw this Pinoy indie film that was refreshing and poignant. Yul Servo plays an amateur painter who spends most of his waking hours daydreaming (hence the title). He daydreams about this father (an accomplished painter who’s gone off somewhere to heal a broken heart), his dead mother (played by a surprisingly plump Tetchie Agbayani), and even his landlady (the hilarious Bella Flores, usually in hot pastel shorts). Jaycee Parker is the muse who – predictably - becomes the lover.

It’s a bittersweet love story that lasts all too briefly and ends all too abruptly, that makes one wonder if the whole thing really happened at all or if it was just an illusion. It’s profoundly, achingly sad. But I realized that maybe a lot of us are like that – we trudge along everyday without any real purpose, and then fate gives us our one chance at love and happiness, but we end up blowing it, so we go back to our dull, miserable lives.

The movie doesn’t have the usual annoying big drama scenes with screaming and slapping and all that crap. What it does have is a shot of wildflowers standing tall and proud against the sun, and a song entitled “Salisi” about how we often miss out on the one person who can truly make us happy. The wildflowers and the song are plain beautiful.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Christmas Fever

I put up our Christmas tree over the long weekend. I was envious of all the trimmings that have been all over the city since the past month. That’s the unsinkable Pinoy for you – EVAT, coup threats and oil price hikes notwithstanding, everyone’s still in the mood for some holiday cheer. Ever notice how the slum dwellers are even usually the first to put up Christmas lights?

Ches and I had an argument when we bought the tree in SM Makati last year.

Him: Don’t tell me we’re going to have a pink Christmas tree?

Me: And what’s so wrong with that?

Him (rolls his eyeballs): Why can’t we have a red-trimmed Christmas tree like normal people?

Me (rolls my eyeballs): But red is so … Christmas!

Him: It is a Christmas tree!

Me: Ok. Compromise. Lavender and peach. (Big smile. Fluttering of eyelashes. Works all the time. Or so I’d like to believe. For all I know, Ches is probably making mental notes of all these instances for later use as grounds for annulment.)

Our tree is five feet tall (I think) and has lavender poinsettias and shiny lilac and fuschia balls and floral-printed peach and magenta ribbons, with a garland of pink pearls wound all around it and topped with a glittering pink star. The only thing missing is Christmas lights that play “O Little Town of Betlehem” and it would be perfect.

Yoshi loves it as much as I do. He was out when I put it up and as soon as he got in, he excitedly said “’Mas! Tree!” and promptly rammed his massive body into the entire thing. It turns out he’s been doing the same thing to the neighbor’s Christmas tree since last month.

One of these Christmases we’ll run out of ornaments and maybe even the leaves after Yosh loses or destroys all of them. I’m hoping by that time we’ll have enough money to buy a new tree. A truly pink one this time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hospital Blues

It all started Monday morning. My tummy was rumbling the whole day. I was pretty much normal tho I wasn’t able to sleep much at night anymore. Tuesday I had a fever already. I tried to finish off as much as I could at work, knowing I would likely be absent the next day. Laying the predicate is what it’s called in law school.

I fell asleep early, like at 8 PM, right after dinner of KFC arroz caldo. I woke up at midnight and from there I couldn’t stop going to the CR anymore every 15 minutes or so to poo-poo and throw up. Around 3 AM, Ches decides to take me to St. Luke’s already. We bring clothes and stuff bcoz we knew I would have to be confined at the rate I was losing fluids. I go to the CR twice while being interviewed for admission. I am promptly hooked to an IV. Which made me realize that I’ll never earn as much as my sister does. Because I can never be a nurse. I can never be someone who pricks people’s bodies with needles. To make matters worse, I am given endless glasses of hydrite. Gross. Now I know why my dogs used to throw up the stuff whenever I tried to force-feed them with pedialyte like the vet advised when they had diarrhea or wouldn't eat for days.

It was like Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day. I spent more time in the toilet than my bed, I didn’t feel like eating anything, and even reading and texting and watching TV gave me a headache. In the end, it was not the physical pain but the emotional one of missing Yosh that made me cry. We left him at dawn and when Ches went back home for a few hours during the day, he was clingy and wouldn’t go with anyone else. He was probably afraid that if he let go of his daddy, his daddy will disappear again just like his Mommy did. I mean, he’s just a baby. How can he understand that I’m sick and he’s not allowed to see me? It broke my heart to think that he probably thought I deserted him in the middle of the night without even saying goodbye.

I cried out of physical pain also. Apparently I have small and sensitive veins so my wrist swelled after being hooked to the IV the whole day. (I think every woman would much prefer having something small and sensitive rather than having something big and hardy. It just makes you feel all exquisite and fragile. I mean, you’d rather have small feet like a delicate Chinese woman than big ones like a giantess, right? Well, with the exception of small boobs, that is. Everyone wants bigger of those.) A nurse had to move the IV to my other arm. She inserted the needle and moved it this and that way. That hurt like hell. I asked her what she was doing and she said the needle was in but the vein collapsed so she was trying to fix it. My veins collapsed? But collapse is for governments and stock markets and buildings. Never heard of veins collapsing before. I was 30 years old and all but I bawled like a toddler out of sheer agony and desperation. A young and good-looking and quite charming medical intern came in to patch things up, this time using the small-sized needles they use for babies. Much better. I think they sent him in precisely to appease me bcoz they were probably scared I was going to sue for medical malpractice or something. Ches was confident that I was still going to live bcoz I was being my usual maldita self.

I forced my way out of the hospital after three days tho I was far from recovered. I was going mad in there and I missed Yosh terribly. And I don’t even know what hit me. The doctors say it was a viral infection, but that doesn’t really tell you anything. I am just thankful to God that I am whole and giggling and blogging again. Thank you, Lord.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Top Ten Little Excuses to Eat Chocolate

(from the book Chocoholic Reasonettes by Sherri Weaver)

1. If you have dogs in the house, it is your duty to eat all the chocolate, since it is toxic to dogs.

2. Chocolate contains sugar, which is made from vegetables. It has milk, which comes from cows. Where else can you find so much healthy stuff packed into one treat?

3. Chocolate is the only anti-depressant that is not regulated by the government.

4. Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger.

5. If you deny yourself chocolate, you will damage your own self-esteem and probably commit some gruesome crime.

6. If we don’t eat chocolate, the folks who produce it will produce their jobs. Do you want the downfall of our nation’s economy on your shoulders?

7. Chocolate is cheap, legal and non-alcoholic.

8. No animals were killed to make chocolate.

9. Nicotine can kill. Sex can kill. Liquor can kill. At least chocolate is safe.

10. If you leave that chocolate around, your kids could eat it and develop a weight problem. You don’t want that on your conscience, do you?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Suddenly Thirty

One minute you’re twentysomething, still technically part of the youth, still perfectly qualified to contribute to Youngblood. And then one day you wake up and you are suddenly thirty. Officially old.

I don’t feel any different, tho. I was telling my sis that I still have the same passions and convictions as when I was in college. My 15-year-old Levi’s still fit (ha!). The only major difference in my life really is Yoshi. (Ches and I have been an old married couple since college. Well, minus all the sex, that is.) I guess I feel more secure about myself, less shy somehow. I feel fulfilled, too, mainly because I now earn my own keep and can do whatever I want with my life. And what I want to do with my life is not even something really grand like join a nudist beach or something. Just simple stuff that my parents used to frown on when I was still living with them, like eating bottomless potato chips and chocolates in bed while I read a book or watched a movie way into the night. I’m definitely happy, but I still have a lot of dreams – like, to be able to provide Yoshi all he needs and most of what he wants and for him to grow up kind, happy and bright, to visit Jen in Cape Cod, to travel around and outside the country, to get married all over again to the same guy on our 25th wedding anniversary… But these dreams can wait.

Ches and I have this private thing where I tell him “I feel three” when I feel like being a three-year old or a toddler who does something really silly and couldn’t care less about what anyone else thinks, or when something really stupid happens to me and it’s like being a kid all over again where I’m just so helpless in the face of the strong forces of the universe. I feel three when I hear some jologs song in the mall like Where is the Love or Bring Me to Life and I just want to sing along at the top of my lungs, complete with dancing and movement. I feel three when I’m putting on ketchup in my Twister fries and the whole packet just gracelessly squirts into my brand-new pastel Kamiseta top. Whenever I feel either of these two types of being three Ches would usually make some remark – which he thinks is all very witty – like “very motherly” or “very lawyerly” and roll his eyeballs in varying degrees of annoyance.

I haven’t even given up my Barbie dolls. My Mom can attest to this. Well, maybe when I have my own baby girl, then I’ll turn them over to her. My Hello Kitty stuff is a different story. I’ll never give them up. Not even for my baby girl. Ok, I’ll save up so I can buy her her own. Or we’ll try for another baby boy so I don’t have little girly hands poking around and being competition to all my kikay stuff. Brilliant idea.

I remember when we were looking for a place to buy and there was one very near my parents’ house, very ideal and within our price range. But then it had these huge, old trees behind the house and I just knew that some mumu had to be living in those trees. Needless to say, we didn’t buy that house.

Oh, I will put a stop to all this silliness and act my age soon, I promise. One of the things that really gets to me is when I see fortyish types with pencil eyebrows and hair dyed blonde, wearing tank tops and tight jeans, and you can practically hear their bulges begging to be let out of such constricted clothing. Now that’s silly. Not to mention downright annoying.

I’m another ten years away from those bulges. Or so I hope.

P.S. Guess who else turned 30 this year? Hello Kitty. Ha.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Day Five: Back to Earth

The best breakfast of the entire trip. Danggit and longganiza. All free, too.

Yosh chased butterflies in the garden. I hoard the lanzones that Chuchi asked helpers to pick from their own trees. I love lanzones. I can easily finish off two kilos in one sitting. In my next pregnancy I will crave for lanzones. The farther off season, the better. Serves Ches right – I didn’t have any cravings the first time. Which was really stupid of me, considering it was my one chance to make Ches buy me whatever I wanted.

We made it to the boat just in time. Chuchi said we’d have missed it if we were two minutes later. We were all nervous coz it looked different, with bunk beds and all. Jon wondered if it wasn’t headed for Romblon or some other distant place. I asked a passing guard. It took him a split second to answer, and in that span of time I was ready to die. I’ve had enough of boat-related bloopers, please.

We officially ended our trip with halo-halo and empanada in Digman. It’s the best halo-halo around, next to my Lola Cording’s in Pangasinan. Whenever Ches makes the mistake of asking me where I want to eat, Digman is my default answer.

It was one great adventure and we survived. We actually pulled it off. No easy feat considering it involved like 16 hours of land travel and seven boat rides. And our group included two little boys who wouldn’t sit still for two minutes. Not to mention that it was organized by Jon and me, the two people least likely to lift a finger to do anything (unless required by law, morals, good customs or public policy). We’re the type who’d just show up with some money and go along with whatever Chuchi or Loudette or Dendee (the designated leaders of our QT gang, who are experts on these kinds of things) says. (I used to organize parties in college but I got lazier and lazier thru the years. Blame it on a husband who spoils me.) Forgotten socks and brassieres and lost slippers aside, it was a relatively blooper-free trip.

I can’t wait for our next one in 2006.