Monday, July 26, 2010


I never thought Grade 1 could be so stressful.

Yoshi has a gazillion (as he likes to say) subjects ranging from the usual Language and Science to the unusual ones like Geography and Geometry. His Math is not your ordinary 1 apple + 1 apple = 2 apples but is Singapore Math which is all about number bonds and other stuff that are too complicated even for me (altho that’s not really saying much ha ha). He has homework every night and quizzes every week and major projects for every subject that involves composing poems and cutting out pictures and generally being a bother.

It’s Filipino that gives us the worst nosebleeds. He has to learn stuff like, 'ang tula ay isang akda na may kahulugan at aral at binubuo ng mga saknong na binubuo ng mga taludtod'. Or something to that effect. Saknong? Taludtod? In Grade 1? I don’t even remember being able to read or write yet in Grade 1. All I know I did at that age was to climb a lot of trees. Duh.

Tutoring Yoshi does have its rewards. Actually, doing anything with Yoshi always involves a reward in the form of instant comedy. For example, he doesn’t know ‘pala’ so he calls it ‘shovela’. He doesn’t know ‘pinya’ so he says ‘Hawaiian delight’. In Science, he proudly recites, 'the skull is made up of the eyes, nose, mouth, and booger’. And: ‘we have to take care of our body so we can be healthy and happy and not become taong grasa’. Plus: ‘Mommy, sabi ni RJ, yung groin daw … titi!’ Hahaha.

One seatwork involved identifying whether something was solid, liquid or gas. He wasn’t content just writing ‘gas’ beside ‘smoke’. He also had to write ‘bad’. He was probably thinking of cigarettes. He’s on the right track and all, but he’s really atribido and if I were his teacher I’d probably write this comment on his work: ‘Tinatanong?’ Ha ha ha.

He came home with his first CL quiz the other week. I loved it so much I had it framed. Not only did he get a perfect score; he also drew me as this towering figure with long, long hair, looming and lording it over everybody. It was for the second part of the quiz where they were asked to draw two special activities they do with their family. One special activity he drew is swimming, and he says I’m so big bcoz I’m a mermaid. (Oww. It’s stuff like these that make my motherhood travails so worth it.)

Now the other special activity involves a gazillion circles under the label ‘Quaipo’. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the circles are the pirated discs we get from Quiapo. Groan.

This boy is going to get us all in jail someday.

And then all this stressful, pretentious studying would have been for nothing.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Little Overcoats

My favorite pair of slippers gave out the other week. It was nothing irreparable; all it needed was some rugby from our neighborhood shoe repair guy Mang Jun (who Yoshi says looks like his classmate Naam’s dad, and he is absolutely right). I’m thankful that’s the extent of the damage, bcoz I love this pair. My Ate sent it to me several years ago and I’ve worn it everywhere since. I remember a local in KL who approached me from out of nowhere to ask me where I got it, and looked disappointed when I said it was from the US. It’s unique and I love the flower and the beads and the height and comfort. It’s one of those things that are just perfect in every way.

I have all of these old stuff that are already so old and worn and yet they remain my favorites, anyway. In this category belongs my pink wedges from Schu and teal and mauve ones from CMG that everybody says are just so me. They are so funky and yet so comfy and I’ve worn them for years and years and I’ve had to have them repaired for sheer wear and tear 60 million times. I’ve probably racked up more in repair bills than their original purchase price, but what can I say? I love them and I can’t bear to just let them go. They deserve nine times ninety nine lives.

My one and only pair of boots is from CMG and I've had it since I was in QT. It's so high and yet so soft and I never have any problems wearing them from morning till night. It's so durable, too - all it ever needed after all these years is a periodic shine from Mang Jun. The best part is, in these boots I can wear my Hello Kitty or Powerpuff or Pooh socks while attending some pretentious corporate meeting. Ha ha ha.

I also have this G2000 long-sleeved orange top that Thom and I got from HK. One of our help somehow managed to burn it while ironing, so now it has like this gash on the back part where it has become all frayed and delicate. Even Mom the expert seamstress gave up on it when I asked her to fix it. So I had no choice but to bring out a needle and thread and painstakingly try to put it back to some semblance of normalcy. (News flash: I can sew.) I still go around wearing it now. I love the fit and the little pinstripes and the fact that it’s so orange. Nobody ever has to know about its little damaging secret.

My favorite skirt is this long, silky thing from M&S in pink and chocolate shades. It was several sizes too big for me, but you know when you pass by a store and you’re not even looking but then this item calls out to you to take it home, like it was made just for you? That’s how it was with this skirt. Fortunately the size was a problem Mom could fix, and I have since spent years and years in a love affair with this skirt.

One of my favorite pairs of pants is something I got from an ukay-ukay in Baguio for just a little over P100. It’s some Italian brand thing and I love to wear it in the office with a nice top bcoz it gives me the illusion that I’m wearing jeans when it’s actually a pair of slacks. This is hands-down the most sulit buy I ever got from an ukay-ukay.

In college I had a favorite pair of Levi’s. I loved all of my Levi’s, actually, but this one was extra special bcoz it was just the right fit and denim shade and it went well with all my tops. So, since I was using it all the time, naturally it had to give out. One thigh part was totally ripped. Ches had it repaired for me, and I went back to using it like nothing ever happened. I had given away all my college-age Levi’s, except for this one. I don’t use it anymore, but I’m preserving it for posterity.

One of Yoshi’s favorite books is something called Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. (It was a gift from Mayie and Alexie many Christmases ago in QT.) It’s about Joseph who used this overcoat all the time until it got old and worn, and then he converted it into a jacket, and when that got old and worn, he converted it into a vest, and then a tie, and so on and so forth, until it was no more than a button. And even then Joseph still loved to use it.

The official moral of the story as written in the book is ‘you can always make something out of nothing’. I prefer the unofficial moral: don’t easily give up the things you love (and people too for that matter).

Monday, July 19, 2010


She came to us in the summer I was reviewing for the Bar. She was so little that on that first night she slept on top of my Regalado Remedial Law reviewer. She fit in my slippers too. She was white as snow, with three brown spots of various sizes on her body, and these brown eyes that forever look as miserable as Eeyore’s.

She had us at hello.

If she were a girl, she’d be one of those astounding beauty types who never even have to smile or crack any jokes or tell any stories – the guys fall all over her anyway on the basis alone of her utter good looks. Which is not to say that she was haughty or anything. She was just her own person, er, dog – quiet, graceful, forever sleeping in one corner if not curling up beside you on the couch.

And she looked perennially young. She was a terrier so she never really got bigger than your average puppy. This became an issue when she got pregnant and wouldn’t stop eating and her babies became too big for her own good. Hence, she had to give birth by caesarian section. To this day, she’s the only dog I know who has that distinction.

I remember waiting in fear and panic as the vet pulled out her pups one after the other. I remember feeling even more scared and worried than when I myself was giving birth. I stroked the pups and blew on them as the vet instructed me to. There were four of them in all, and one did not make it. Mom, on the other hand, had her eyes only on Dharma. She didn’t even pretend to care about the babies – it was just Dharma for her all the way.

She was Mom’s first grandbaby in many ways. Babba we shared and Ally was always Rino’s dog. Dharma we fought over. I would kidnap her while Mom was in the shower and lock my bedroom and turn the lights off, hoping to fool Mom into thinking I was already asleep so she won’t wake me up anymore just to get Dharma. But she did anyway. She always did.

It has been a good ten years. She was with us everywhere. We took her and Ally to Manaoag Church and a beach in Pangasinan and Tagaytay and Laguna many times over. I have pictures of her in my wedding gown and with my wedding gifts and when I was pregnant with Yoshi. I knew her when I was just this college student and now I'm a mommy twice over and have been lawyering for four companies.

Time just zooms away while we're not looking.

Last Saturday Mom told me Dharma has not been eating well and has pooped blood. That same night Pops texted me that she was gone.

I’m just thankful that she didn’t have to suffer long. She chose to go the same way she came - quietly, unexpectedly, but with so much love and beauty and grace.

These dogs – they're so unfair. You fall in love with them and they in turn stay totally devoted to you for 10 whole years.

And then they die and break your heart.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Letting Go

Robby told me this story about a guy and an old woman who needed to cross a river to get to the other side. The guy took pity on the woman who obviously would not be able to cross the river by herself. So he carried her on his back and waded into the water. He was surprised at her weight tho and kept complaining that she was so heavy. Long after they crossed the other side he was still carrying her on his back and complaining about it. And then the woman said, “Thank you. Please put me down now. You have to learn to let me go”.

(Thanks, Robby. This is exactly what I needed to hear at this time.)