Friday, September 28, 2007

Death by Sweetness

Had the scare of my life last week. There was a trace of sugar in my last urinalysis, so my OB asked me to take a glucose challenge test. This involves drinking 50 grams of this sickeningly sweet orangey syrup and not taking anything for a full hour, at which time you go back to the lab for a blood extraction so they can test the amount of sugar in your system. Mine was way beyond normal levels, so I had to move to the next step, the oral glucose tolerance test. This is the real killer, coz you have to fast for a total of like 11 hours (not a joke for someone like me who can't last 30 waking minutes without food and water, pregnant or not), take in 100 grams of the same glucose drink (the taste and volume of which is enough to make anyone puke), and have a total of four blood extractions (and it's not even for a noble cause like the Red Cross).

Thank God I tested negative for gestational diabetes (thank you, thank you, dear Lord). Ches and I were really worried about all the complications for Boots and me, the physical and emotional strain of having this potentially fatal illness looming over you, the hassle and expense of a restricted diet and insulin shots. I mean, we’re a pretty low-maintenance family, very anything-goes, and it would have been heartbreaking to have to give up this lifestyle. I told Ches, if they're going to deprive me of sweets for the rest of my life, they might as well kill me now.

I cannot go thru a meal, much less a day, without sweets. I can eat nothing but sweets the whole day and I'll be happy. I don't even look for anything fancy-schmanzy like fondue or crème brulee or whatever. I'm happy with pastillas de leche Gonuts, walnut swirl from Brownies, caramel sundae, brazo de mercedes. My all-time favorites include Cravings' choco caramel cake and UCC's fudge brownie sundae that's hot and gooey and you eat with vanilla ice cream on top. My recent finds include UCC's Snickers cake, Banapple's double caramel fudge, and Chocolat's deep, dark chocolates (all of these I discovered while pregnant. I'm a bad, bad girl, I know).

I remember when I gave birth to Yosh, the first thing I looked for after 14 hours of labor (no anesthesia and nothing to eat or drink but pathetic little ice chips) was Double Dutch ice cream. It's just so happy that Selecta came up with Double Dutch ice cream sticks right smack into my second pregnancy. Yoshi prefers Quezo Real, and Ches lets us pig out on these things if only to cool off our hot tempers.

Don't even get me started on chocolate. For me, chocolate is one of man's greatest inventions, way up there with the light bulb and telephone. I allocate a portion of our household budget for chocolate. I married Ches bcoz he's not into chocolate, and have convinced Yosh since infancy that chocolate is poisonous - hence guaranteeing me sole access to all the chocolate that ever comes into the house. When I travel, I get frustrated if I don't find any Hello Kitty, but still ok as long as I can get some duty-free chocolate. I've never asked friends who travel abroad for anything other than Maltesers, Twix and Snickers (the more expensive Symphony and Lindt from closer buddies whom I can coerce or beg from). Hand me a chocolate bar and you need never hear any bitchy word from me.

I'm so happy that Galleria recently put up Cadbury counters all over the cashiers', so it's so easy to just grab one and pay for it with your other purchases. Gosh, chocolate and shopping - that is The Life.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Best Soundtracks

1. I Am Sam. Movie title culled from Yoshi’s and my favorite Dr. Seuss book. Earned an Oscar nomination for Sean Penn, for me one of Hollywood’s hottie bad boy types. Soundtrack contains arguably the best remakes of the most fantastic Beatles songs. Two of Us. Golden Slumbers. Across the Universe. We Can Work It Out. We played it over and over in the car on our way from Puerto Galera to the Ro-Ro station in Roxas that will take us and the Zuniga family to heavenly Bora. Perfect for road trips.

2. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. Hilarious movie starring two great actresses, Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow (this girl is born to play ditzy roles, I think), whose characters pretend to have invented Post-It to impress high school classmates in their reunion. Set in the 80’s so soundtrack is as silly and fun as the movie, with songs from Cyndi Lauper (Time After Time), Boy George (Karma Chameleon), Tears for Fears (Everybody Wants to Rule the World), Bananarama (Heaven Is a Place on Earth). Not to mention other 80’s classics like Always Somethin There to Remind Me, Footloose, YMCA, Whip It, Turning Japanese. You can have a party at home without ever needing a DJ – you can just play this one over and over.

3. Love Actually. One of my favorite comedies of all time. Refreshing take on love in its various forms, with many unforgettable lines and scenes. From the same people who gave us the best in the ensemble acting genre (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones). (Who’d ever have thought Brits can be so funny?) Soundtrack includes the haunting Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell and The Calling’s big hit, Wherever You Will Go (which I also loved from Smallville, and Yoshi loves from the Head & Shoulders ad). Also has guaranteed cheerer-ups like All You Need Is Love and All I Want for Christmas Is You. Even corny Christmas is All Around You makes me laugh. There is nothing to not like about this film.

4. My Best Friend’s Wedding. Funny enough movie, but like only Cameron Diaz and Rupert Everett in the cast. Love the soundtrack tho as it brings to life previously unheard-of happy songs I Say a Little Prayer for You and I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself (the cast hamming up the first in the resto and Cameron murdering the second in a karaoke bar are probably the best moments in the film), as well as Wishin’ and Hopin’ and the rollicking If You Wanna Be Happy. This movie is responsible for making The Way You Look Tonight a staple in weddings. I prefer the mushy You Don’t Know Me and Always You. It even has old favorites Annie’s Song, I’ll Never Fall in Love Again and What the World Needs Now is Love.

5. Music and Lyrics. Hugh and Drew are arguably two of the cutest people in Hollywood. And their especially made for the movie Way Back Into Love just smacks of cuteness. The soundtrack burned for me by Beavis also has a bonus cut, the bossa nova Waters of March, which is supposed to be the greatest Brazilian song of all time. Certainly not one of Hugh’s more memorable films, but hey, Hugh Grant in full 80’s regalia gyrating to Pop! Goes My Heart – what more can you ask for?

I also love it when films introduce us to great songs we would otherwise never have heard of, like Elvis Costello’s She from Notting Hill or In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning from Sleepless in Seattle, and songs we don’t hear often enough, like Lisa Loeb’s Stay from Reality Bites, Dyslexic Heart from Singles, The Blower’s Daughter from Closer, Pachelbel’s Kanon from Father of the Bride. It’s great that these movies recognize the beauty of these songs and give them the airtime they deserve. It’s even better when the movies come up with original songs that end up in our favorites list, like Grow Old With You from The Wedding Singer, Just For a Moment from St. Elmo’s Fire (my high school gang’s favorite), and the cheesy If We Hold On Together from The Land Before Time. Popsy’s favorite soundtrack from The Graduate also falls in this category (with ageless ditties like Mrs. Robinson, Scarborough Fair and Sounds of Silence, it’s easy to see why).

Movie themes are another source of great music. Enya’s Book of Days from Far and Away, Cavatina from The Deer Hunter, the devastating scores of Love Affair and Brokeback Mountain.

The best music ever to come out of a movie? Still no contest. Still The Feather Theme from Forrest Gump for me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Been in the middle of a major nesting instinct for the past two months or so. I just thought we’d have to make space for the new baby, but once I started I couldn’t stop anymore. First to go was the cabinet containing Yoshi’s gizmos and gadgets. I thought we’d put Boots’ Pack & Play in its place. So I got these huge plastic containers that you can stack and store anywhere, and there went his big trucks and robots and balls. His smaller toys we kept in this Spidey box that you can slide under the bed. (It was much smaller and cost twice the big plain ones but it had Spidey and Green Goblin printed all over and made Yosh happy so whaddahell.) His books went into our bedside cabinet, and his puzzles and flashcards and Legos went into another cabinet, on top of which I stacked his choochoo trains and race cars. (Groan. These stuff seem to mushroom overnight. I regularly pack away his less desired ones for giving to street kids, but cannot do this without consulting him coz he remembers all the toys he’s ever had and I feel guilty when he looks for something and I cannot produce it anymore.)

Next I gave away our computer table which has been doubling as my and Ches’ book shelf, an extension for those that can no longer fit into our regular book shelf (which is big enough as it is). I bundled up our books in large bags and asked Ches to haul them off to the top of my closet. (Gosh, I hate the thought of my Oprah’s Book Club novels and bargain hardbounds from Powerbooks all crammed together in a dark place, unseen and unappreciated. This is my incentive to work hard so I can maybe get a raise and afford a second floor. Or maybe I’ll just let Ches go off to the US to work like he’s been threatening to do.)

I’d regularly engage into these cleaning bouts once a month or so, to weed out clothes I don’t use anymore and those that Yosh has outgrown. (And in the process justify why I need to buy more and more haha.) I’d also check up on my beloved plates and glasses and utensils, blankets and towels and curtains once in awhile, just to make sure Ann is treating them nicely and not murdering them. Or sometimes I feel like Yosh and line up my shoes on the floor just for kicks. (Ches has several pix of me in the middle of this bizarre activity, probably keeping them as added proof of my psychological incapacity.)

But this time I didn’t spare any space in the house – the kitchen, ref, bathroom, even Chester’s wardrobe. Even those that didn’t need any arranging, I just had to re-fix or re-fold. I lugged crates of stuff I don’t like anymore to my Mom, conveniently passing on to her the trouble of what to do with these things short of dumping them in the trash (which I don’t have the heart to do considering they’re all perfectly in good shape, and some even brand-new with the tags still intact). I hung picture frames on walls, arranged dried flowers in vases, and bought cutie boxes from Papemelroti in which to store my trinkets and thingamobs that I accumulate like there’s no tomorrow. (I used to make the same boxes in college. I’d go all the way to Megamall to spend my allowance on plain brown boxes of all shapes and sizes from this quaint basement shop called The Crafts Store. And then I’ll cover them up in lovely paper of pastels and floral prints. I used to make topiaries too with materials from that store. Too bad it closed down, and my hobbies died with it. It’s the most artistic I can ever get. I cannot even draw a straight line.)

It was fun finding all these fine things all over the house that I have forgotten even existed or was just too lazy to do anything about. I came across these paintings on blocks of wood that Mailyn and I bought from Gourdo’s a long time ago when we were both still in QT (so of course I promptly ask Ches to drill them on the wall). I also found these exquisite hand-woven table runners from my first trip to Bangkok and tin cans painted with ladybugs and sunflowers (from where I cannot remember). And then there are those that I know I keep somewhere and will never throw away – like my collection of stationeries from way back into grade school, a box of greeting cards with dancing fairies on the cover from Jen, and memorabilia from Yoshi’s first months – but just seeing them again filed me with joy, and it was like receiving an unexpected gift for no occasion at all.

Ches’ contribution to this whole nesting thing is to re-apply varnish to a rocking chair that Pops gave to Jen and somehow found its way to my porch when she moved to the US. He prepared it for my long months ahead of breast-feeding Boots. Tho a neat freak in his own way and greatly tolerant of my eccentricities, he doesn’t get why I have to be standing on chairs with my gigantic tummy just to get to the farthest corner of the cabinets and be at it way into the night even on weekdays. I explain to him that this is why I moved to a drastically lower-paying job, to have time on my hands to make sure that everything in my cabinets and closets are arranged or folded in just the right way. But what I’m really thinking is, you should be glad I’m up on this chair playing mommy and cleaning up your house instead of being a bitch to the whole world like I normally do. Duh.

I get this sudden image of his second wife using my silverware and throwing away my plush towels with my and Ches’ monograms. I hate her already. I will so torment her with my ghost, I swear. Next on my to-do-list: draft a will to bequeath all my house ware to my mom and sis.