Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why I Love My Interior Designer

It's not nearly as fancy as it sounds, having an interior designer. He just happens to be Randy, my friend from way back in college, since we were co-applicants in APSM on our second year. We sat and giggled together all to way to Quezon for our final interview, and we've been inseparable since.

We trade books (he introduced me to Marika Cobbold, Jostein Gaarder and Erica Jong), gorge on anything nuts, chocolate and chicharon, and share a passion for dogsitting and fine (obscenely-priced, impractical bordering on useless) things. One of my fondest memories of college is pigging out on pizza and dancing to the tune of Dear Jessie with him and Kai under the most fantabulous acacia tree somewhere along Univ Ave with the sun setting in the background. The three of us also have this special dance number, I'd Like to Teach the World To Sing, that we perform on such occasions as Amelle's birthday party in Tagaytay ... or on particularly boring lunch times in the APSM tambayan ...

On top of being a demi-goddess, he is also a licensed interior designer (Carmi Martin was his teammate in his snotty school, much to the envy of our male friends), so of course I had to get him on board for our little house project. Besides, I think in my earlier blogs I wrote about how one of the reasons why I truly needed a bigger house was to give rightful space to the ballerina and bride Ashton Drake dolls I got from him as wedding gifts. It's only right that he should help me spread beauty and love all over our new home.

The thing about best friends is, you can be out of touch for years and years but when you get back together you realize you hardly changed at all and you still find yourself cracking up over the same stupid jokes and bickering about the same old petty issues. And I realized I still love him for the same reasons I've always loved him:

1. Bcoz he's spending 20% of his fees to get a mutual fund for Yoshi (who is his godson). I ask you, which other interior designer would have offered me this sweet deal?

2. Bcoz he's letting me have a red bedroom. I spent a good half of our first meeting begging him to let me have a red room, so that night he texted me that he's looking forward to working with a client whose sole major demand is simple red paint.

3. Bcoz his first rule was: No plastic flowers.

4. Bcoz he likes that our house is hidden from the street by a little right-of-way driveway, likes the idea of the house surprising everyone that it is there.

5. Bcoz he works around what Buddy our engineer has already done, never mind that Buddy is “not a pine person” as we call him behind his back bcoz of his propensity to go modern and eschew country stuff like pine wood which is the very thing I desire.

6. Bcoz, after I called our bedroom an obscene shade of red, he texted me to say his favorite thing about me is that I'm a happy person and so easy to please. (But wait. I'm a happy person? And here I was aiming for the dour, acerbic image, bcoz, hello, that's how all the cool kids are. Bright, happy people on the other hand ... are dorky and boring.)

7. Bcoz we are so in tune with each other that I don't have to explain when I say that a specific brick we're choosing for our dining wall “has more character”, and would even pick out lighting fixtures that he doubtless knows I would want to have bcoz they are “so Jo” as he would say.

Now if only I could find additional funds to buy this multi-colored, teardrop-crystals, fit-for-demi-goddesses chandelier thing that Randy and I both covet. Not to mention the funds to put a finish to the whole house project that has surreptitiously turned me and Ches into what we call The Loan Rangers. Sigh.

Friday, June 12, 2009


My sister sent me some moolah a couple of weeks ago. I splurge it all on books. I can so relate to what Desiderius Erasmus (whoever this guy is) said: When I get a little money I buy books, and if any is left I buy food and clothes. Which is not to say I'm the type to scrimp on my food and clothes either, but with books I feel a lot less guilty. Because, hello, they're educational. How can anyone argue against spending on books?

This was around the time when I was looking all over for the coffee table book on Edward Cullen (Rob Pattinson, actually, but we all love him as Edward). I saw one copy in the Mall of Asia branch of Fully Booked. (Apparently it was selling like the Twilight books last year, where all the stocks would be gone within an hour from the time they open the boxes.) I thought it was the ideal gift for Joy's birthday cum passing the Bar blow-out. But then I needed another one for Paula, who's obsessed with Edward and who will probably never speak to me again if she found out I gave the one copy I could get a hold of to somebody else.

My search took me to the Fully Booked branch in Edsa Shang. I can live and die in that place (there or in the main branch in Bonifacio High Street). It has all these funny quotes about books on its walls (including the one of this Erasmus person). It had the last two remaining copies of the Edward book so I got to get one for myself too. I am far from being a fan - my loyalties are with Harry and Ron and Hermione all the way – but I appreciate male beauty as much as the next girl.

I couldn't resist The Time Traveler's Wife because its blurb calls it “the new Lovely Bones”. (Gosh, I love The Lovely Bones. It's in my List of Best Books of All Time, up there with The Little Prince and Of Mice and Men and Catcher in the Rye.) Of course, I should've known better as it turned out nowhere near as good as The Lovely Bones. But it was a fun read, and a great love story, and gets high points for making the whole concept of time traveling not entirely unbelievable. And it's sexy. (Sexy always helps. Hahaha.)

I also get the newest Jodi Picoult on the bestseller list, Second Glance. Mainly out of curiosity, bcoz she has about 60 million books on the shelf, a number of them touted as bestsellers, and I wanted to see what makes them so good. (Cecilia Ahern is another perennial name on the bestseller list, with P.S. I Love You even being turned into a big-budget Hollywood movie. I read that she's the daughter of the Irish prime minister or something, and is barely in her mid-twenties. So of course I can't bring myself to buy her books. Hello, her life is perfect as it is, she doesn't need any of my money to get any richer. She probably even models on the side. Groan.) Second Chance is a good, satisfying read, with a love story bordering on the supernatural, and an interesting lesson on the disturbing history of eugenics, to boot. But I dunno. I just didn't get the same pathos that I normally have with Anita Shreve or Oprah's book club novels. Maybe it was that all the ends tied up too perfectly. It's a lot like love, this book thing. You can't explain it - you just know when the feeling is there or not.

I also buy the latest Gaiman book for Ches, The Graveyard Book. (Actually I buy it on the pretext that it's for him, when in fact I have no intention of letting him read it before I do hahaha.) As always, this new masterpiece does not disappoint. Long after you finish the last page you want to know what happens next to Nobody Owens and all the other fantastic and endearing (albeit mostly macabre) characters in the story. On hindsight, I realize that the beauty of Gaiman books is that no two stories are ever the same or even slightly similar. Think Coraline and Neverwhere and Stardust which are as different as SM Manila and Greenbelt 5 (hahaha). Only American Gods and Anansi Boys involved familiar characters and they're not even technically sequels.

This I think is what you need an elder sister in your life for – so that when everyone else mistakenly thinks you're too gainfully employed to be in need of any funds or that since you're such a mommy now all the cash gifts should go to your kids, Ate can come along and send you some unexpected and much-needed moolah for you to spend as you please, bcoz she knows you're never too old nor too loaded to appreciate a perfectly good freebie. Thanks, Ate! =)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Yoshi's annual summer day care program in PMS officially ended last week. I miss having him in the car with us in the morning and at night, even if this meant I had to feed him his breakfast while we waded thru the morning rush, and play spot-the-haunted-house-or-building (his favorite game) as we passed by New Manila at night. I miss his little-boy all-knowing commentaries thruout the long drive, and his tight hugs and triple kisses when I step out of the car into my office building. Most of all I miss his Ely Buendia impersonations.

Yup, he has become a fan in the course of this summer that he's been riding with us to work. He would insist on using only the white car bcoz the red car's radio is busted so then he won't be able to play Eheads songs. Once in the white car, he'd say stuff like, “Eraserheads, please” or “Number 8, please”. Number 8 is Ang Huling El Bimbo, which he loves from the McDo commercial. (For his part, Boots likes Shirley, and won't stop dancing at the part that goes, “Ganyan ma-in lab lab lab lab...” Oh, but we have thought of the most fitting Eheads song for him: Kamasupra, bcoz he has a malupit na unan, my baby blue Hello Kitty pillow.)

Thru-out the day you can hear Yoshi humming “Parang nakuryenteng pusa ...” or “Iba na ang yung ngiti, iba na ang yung tingin...” or “Hanggang sa dulo ng mundo...” One time he stunned us all when he suddenly stood up from playing with his Legos and shouted, “Supercrocsy, why don't you just talk to me!” (He LOVES Crocs. His three pairs are all he ever wants to wear.)

If you ask him his favorite Eheads song, he'll give you a long list that includes not only the big hits like El Bimbo and Magasin but also Hey Jay and Spoliarium and Kaliwete. He even knows the more obscure songs like Maselang Bahaghari and Ha Ha Ha. I promised to buy him a Happy Meal if he memorizes Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka, so that's what he's currently working on. I probably won't win if there's a contest on Most Number of Eheads Concerts Watched or Most Number of Eheads Memorabilia Owned, but I'm willing to stake my bet if there's a category for Eheads Fan with Child below 6 Years Old who has Memorized the Most Number of Eheads Songs. Hahaha.

Oh, I'm sure people will have a lot to say about the propriety of exposing young minds to music that is not exactly nursery rhyme fare. We do realize that Eheads songs are not only age-inappropriate but also not altogether squeaky clean. But Ches and I have always strived to be pretty low-maintenance parents, and we are not in the habit of visualizing problems involving our kids before they materialize right under our noses. We think Yoshi is in it just for the music for now, because the tunes are sing-able and dance-able, but he's too young to understand nor could care less about the often complicated messages the songs are trying to convey. So we leave him be.

I wouldn't know what to say if he asks me, for example, what's the moral of Superproxy or Magasin or -gasp!- Tikman ang Langit (the way he's always bugging me what's the moral of a book I'm reading, or a story I'm telling him). When he gets started on these questions, I guess I'll just give him my default answer: Go ask Daddy.