Monday, November 22, 2010


I treated Ate to dinner at Gayuma and this spa beside it, which also had the same Maria Makiling theme (as I call it). I was quite happy with Spaholic (which is what Ches and I frequent) but I love Thom and he wanted us to try Silong instead so he could get a free massage from the referrals. (He’s so PG, I swear.)

The receptionist’s name tag read, ‘Diwata’. So Ate said, wow, your name’s really nice. ‘Diwata’ said, screen name ko lang po yan dito sa spa.

The masseuse assigned to Ate had a name tag that read, ‘Mayumi’. She admitted it was also a screen name. (I realize I personally know two Mayumis – the daughter of Paula and the mommy of my boss. So cool.) The name tag of my masseuse, on the other hand, read, ‘Lilia’. So I asked her why she didn’t get a screen name. And she said Lilia was her screen name.

Ate and I couldn’t stop giggling over this. What do we know, her real name was probably Sampaguita or Bougainvillea or something like that, so she chose something plain and boring as a screen name.

I tell Rosa this story and she has one of her own. In this nail spa that she goes to, the attendants are named after nail polish colors (like Mauve, and maybe Plum or Aubergine or whatever). One time, somebody got a phone call, and the poor receptionist said, ‘May naghahanap kay Josie. Sino ba sa inyo si Josie?’ Hahaha.

Rosa has her own name problems. Some people in the office call her Rosas, others call her Rose. In Starbucks, she is called Rossa. Just how difficult is it to remember Rosa, I ask you? Hello.

In Starbucks or Big Chill or DQ, my screen name is Samantha or Maxine or Cheska. Next time, I’m going to be Trinity.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Passenger Seat

At another Friday night gimmick, Aizza was shy to ask Robby to bring her home. Robert said Robby was also shy to offer and was just standing there waiting for her to ask.

I told them, the whole issue eludes me. If it were me, I’d be like, ‘[Thom/Regie/Jon/Rhoel/Donemark], [hatid/sundo] mo ko, ha’. Period. No shyness whatsoever.

Robert says, parang taxi driver lang, ha. Ha ha.

It’s the same sense of entitlement my kids show when we go to my in-laws’ house on weekends and they head straight to the ref and look for their Yakult or C2 or fresh milk. They demand, ‘San yung drinks ko?’ And Tito Aaron counters, ‘May pinatago kayo? Nag-iwan kayo ng pang-grocery?’ Ha ha.

I’m the same way with my guy friends. I always act entitled to their chauffer services, as tho I pay them a monthly retainer to do this work for me. Ches always says, if there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that your friends really love you, bcoz they’ve put up with you this long, no matter how infuriating you are. Ha ha.

Thanks thanks, you guys. You know I love you back =)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hello, Kitties

The boys allow me a few hours a week to be as crazy as I wanna be. They don’t bother me with any of their usual whines and demands, and I’m free to spend the hours as I please. Mostly I fix my clothes, and sometimes I take out all my shoes or all my pink stuff and take pictures of them. Last weekend I had a Hello Kitty pictorial. Ha ha.

I got the idea when Rosa gave me a Kitty bottle of water that she got from HK but which says in the label ‘Made in Italy’. (Bootsie was bugging me to let him drink it, and I told him it’s the weewee of Kitty and hence poisonous. Haha.) And then Ate gave me jelly beans with the Kitty logo. So I thought, my Kitties are getting more and more unique, it’s about time I document all of them. Ha ha.

Most of my Kitties I bought from my travels or Gift Gate or Greenhills. (I even have a Kitty preggy dress, but I got lazy to bring it down from the top of the closet.) About half of them are from Ate, also from her travels in the US, HK, and Japan. She says the two of us will go to Japan someday, to visit Kitty in her birthplace. She gives me the expensive kinds that I’m always torn between using everyday and not using at all and just preserving for posterity bcoz they are just too exquisite to be damaged by wear and tear. I usually go with the middle ground, which is to use them when I’m down and when they’re sure to cheer me up.

Many are gifts from Ches and friends like Thom, Babette, and Rosa. Thom knows he can never go wrong with a something Hello Kitty gift for me for any occasion. It’s too bad I finished up the Kitty marshmallows with strawberry filling that he got from HK. That would’ve been among my most unique Kitties too. Ha ha. Babette uses the code name ‘Kitty’ for me in her blog and has given me at least three Kitties from her travels (pillow, pen, and lip balm). Rosa says she prefers Little Twin Stars bcoz it’s pink, but she always gushes anyway when she sees the Kitty bags and jewelries that I use in the office. She even wanted to give me her giant Kitty doll from her childhood but I told her to hold on to it for sentimental reasons.

I tell Ches, see, it’s a good thing I don’t cook, or I would be compelled to buy those Kitty pots and pans and dress up the entire kitchen in Hello Kitty. Ha ha.

It’s perverse, I know, this whole obsession with the hydrocephalic cat with a missing mouth. If anybody asks me where my money went from all these years slaving away in the corporate world, I can always show my Kitties.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Looking Forward

Even before Ate went back to the US, Yoshi was already getting all senti and weepy at her impending departure. I was telling Ate, Ches, and Rosa that it made me realize how grown-up Yoshi really is now bcoz even his emotions were already pang-adult. He wasn’t like other kids who would cry bcoz other people around them are also sad; Yoshi grieved for his own personal losses and longings. But then I remembered two years back he was already that way when Ate left, coz I blogged about how it was bad enough for an old person like me to have to say goodbye to a loved one, and I pitied Yosh that he had to experience that sadness at such a young age.

So, anyway, my strategy to get him out of his little misery was to let him open a giant pack of PlayDoh (which was part of Ate’s pasalubong but which I saved precisely for this occasion). I also told him the two of us would put up our Christmas d├ęcor at home, and Bootsie can also help. That always makes us happy.

We put up our smallish tree that has been with us since we moved to our own house six years ago. This year tho I decorated it with angels, bears and dolls that I found in a parish bazaar and are oh so country. We also brought back our wooden belen that was a fixture even in our old house. (It’s a miracle the whole cast of ten characters is still complete after all these years, considering how the boys are always playing with the sheep or one of the three kings or Joseph. Haha.)

I was so happy last year to find a wreath, bouquet, and garlands made of capiz and adorned with gold and orangey ribbons, and another wreath with seashells. (Yes, seashells! Such joys!) They go so well with the whole pumpkin two tones of our ground floor. So they are all back this year, together with the Christmas boxes I got from Dapitan, and the huge quilted socks from Greenhills, and a small tree with bears that twirls and plays ‘Jingle Bells’. (All of our old Christmas decor make me happy bcoz somehow they're a testament to all the Christmases our little family has shared together.)

Some new additions include a Hello Kitty Christmas tree (believe it), the Snowman from Randy, and the four exquisite wooden Santas by James Haddon (they were expensive but I think they are so worth it). I cleared up our entire credenza so they would all have enough space to grace with their utter loveliness. (Randy the eminent designer would be so proud of me when he sees what I’ve done.)

Ches’ job is always to install the twinkling lights and the singing capiz lantern that we got from Tarlac many years ago. I was telling him about a former boss who used to hire somebody to decorate her house for Christmas. Randy confirmed that this is a usual junket for designers around this season. Ches and I agreed that that takes the merry right out of Christmas. Haha. (Hay, these rich people …)

I was thinking, Christmas brings out the crazy in us, with the way we make it the perfect excuse to spend and party. It’s also a well-researched fact that most suicides occur around Christmas. I guess all the ostentatious merry-making makes people question whether they really are happy, and there are a lot who realize that they’re just not happy with their lives anymore. Just the same, I think Christmas has not lost its power and magic to cheer up the kid in all of us. Dressing up our home for Christmas definitely cheered me up and made me forget my dramas over Ate’s leaving (if only momentarily), and I saw the boys’ happiness too with the way their eyes lit up at the transformation. Christmas is still something to look forward to, still an occasion I respect that every year I go on this crusade against spelling it as ‘Xmas’, which effectively reduces ‘Christ’ into ‘x’, that one letter (of all letters) often used to denote something wrong.

Advanced happy birthday, Jesus. Our home is all ready for you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

As Long As It Matters

(Something by Gin Blossoms, for all my friends who made my last birthday so sweet. Thanks to all who greeted and all who remembered. Ches and I have this game on who gets more texts on our birthdays. I usually get more than 30, and win every year. Haha. Nico said, welcome to the mid-30s, we're halfway to our 70s! Yikes, we're old. The most touching texts came from Jon, Rosa, Kai and Aizza. Robby, too, bcoz he never fails to tell me that he loves me. Kaye never forgets to email on my birthday, and even Ria my old friend from high school remembered this year. Robert and Eycee surprised me with the Beats Sex Anyday winner chocolate cake from Gayuma. Thom gave me a Kitty pillow and two jars of cashew. There was the zebra shoes from Rosa, too. Mommy gave me Arden Beauty perfume. My Legal staff decorated my room with a Kitty poster, pearls, balloons, and Christmas garlands, and after lunch surprised me with a Dulcelin mango torte with 60 million glowing candles, a box of Dulcelin pastries, and three Snickers bars. Owww. Ate promised to take me to Yakimix. (Haha.) Yoshi wrote me a love letter. Ches got me the Get Him to the Greek soundtrack, plus a funky belt and shoes from Singapore. Thanks thanks, you guys. I love you all. I know I'll be all right way into my 70s as long as you're with me.)

How can I find something
That two can take
Without stumbling as we
Walk into our future's wake
I'm like a broken record
That you can play
Repeating as if it matters
Everything I want to say
I'll be all right
As long as it matters
As long as you're here with me now
Forget that time
It's nothing we touch and see
All this is fine
Even as it crashes down on me
I'm looking around
There's nothing that I could want
More than to tell you
There's no more than we've already got
I'll be all right
As long as it matters
As long as you're here with me now...
Forget that our time is almost up I'll be all right...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Future Heartbreaker

Bootsie turns three tomorrow. When we he came to us we thought he was going to be a mini-Yoshi. He is that in many ways, but mostly he is his own special little person.

While Yosh is clingy to this day, Boots has always been independent even at an early age. So when we got home from Beijing, Yoshi stayed up to wait for us and was all weepy with joy. Boots couldn’t be bothered from his sleep, but when he woke up the next day he kicked me and Ches over and over. I guess he was mad that we left in the first place. Hahaha.

Yup, he has a violent streak. He doesn’t even need to be provoked. You could just be sitting there all quiet and he’s suddenly attacking you. I think it’s his way of showing affection sometimes. (And of course all fingers point in my direction when the question of who could have given him this feisty (/violent/mean) gene comes up. Groan.)

While Yosh has always been mature for his age, a born kuya who was considerate of other people’s feelings and took pride in sharing, Boots was the baby of the family who had to be understood when he wanted everything for himself (‘TV ko yan …’, ‘yung Captiva ko…’, ‘I need my laptop…’). He’s also still in that age where he throws an hour-long tantrum when you don’t give in to his impossible demands (like eating candy that fell on the floor and is already in the trash can, or putting back on his forehead the sweat that you just wiped). I like to tell him, you and [insert name of one of the owners of my previous office] have something in common: you are both tyrannical and oppressive. Hahaha.

Yosh you could leave in front of the TV with a Barney disc and he will watch all behaved the whole day if you let him. Boots also watches Playhouse Disney (his favorites are Pororo, Agent Oso, Little Einsteins), but while he’s watching he’s also running around the house with a sword or hockey stick or a little plastic knife from a Playdoh set and inflicting pain on chairs and imaginary enemies. Yosh was and still is into Legos and puzzles and educational board games. Boots – well, his favorite game is destroying whatever Kuya is trying to build. Yosh loved books even as a baby. Boots has consistently announced that he doesn’t want to go to school.

Some of Yoshi’s good influence has rubbed off on Bootsie tho. They’re both very grateful kids - every little thing merits several thank yous from them – and they’re quick to say sorry and have this habit I’m trying to emulate, of saying wow to anything that comes up. (I take out pencils from my bag and they say, ‘wow!’. The waiter arrives with our drinks – ‘wow!’. We pass by tacky street lamps – ‘wow!’.) They’re also very sweet and affectionate and either one of them is always attached to my waist or clinging on to my leg or playing with my hair throughout the day. They greet us 'Good morning!' when they wake up and say 'I love you' and 'I miss you' several times a day. (Tita Jen fell in love with Boots all over again in Singapore, with the way he would take her hand and walk beside her everywhere. That, and the crazy words he and Kuya made up, like ‘vaginity’ and ‘capoya maki twister’, and stuff like 'No, no,no, put some sour cream on it!' and 'Konting tiis, iiyak na yan!'.)

We refer to Boots as the little lawyer in the house. He always has an excuse for something. I ask him to throw something in the trash can, and he says ‘pero sleepy na ko e’ when he’s just running around the house as usual. We tell him to walk instead of insisting to be carried around when we go out, and he points in some vague direction and says, 'E may sign dun no walking'. He also likes to defend other people. He tells me or Ches, ‘Don’t get mad at kuya. Nag-sorry na sya.’ He's pretty logical, too, for his age. I was sobbing while reading Have A Little Faith, and he asked why I was crying. I said my book makes me cry. So he said: 'so stop reading!' Haha. And of course he’s always ready to defend himself. Before he even opens a drawer in the toy cabinet, he tells Ate Ann, ‘Wag mo sabihin keep your toys. Hindi ako messy.’ And he’s always right, too. We correct him when he mispronounces something, but he insists that his is the right way. (See? He’s such a lawyer.)

He's still at that age where he has a distorted sense of the capabilities of people and things around him. If he breaks some household thing for the nth time, he'll say, 'Ok lang. Daddy will fix it. May screwdriver naman sha e.' As if Daddy and his screwdriver can solve all of the world's problems. Or we tell him to stop leaning over the window coz he might he fall over, and he says, 'I won't fall. May sunglasses naman ako e'. Haha. Boots and his sunglasses.

He is also our resident performer. He and Kuya can go on for hours singing Darna and Sana and Malayo Pa Ang Umaga and Lady Gaga and The Black Eyed Peas and Eraserheads. I recorded him singing Ang Huling El Bimbo and Ches uploaded it in his FB. It was a hit not only among relatives but even Ninang Joy and friends of friends like Rina (I was surprised they even saw it).

He loves dressing up. Even at home he wears his caps and shades. He may be sick and we’re going out to see his pedia but he still remembers to wear his watch. Everywhere we go people swoon all over him. Strangers take pictures of him in the mall, in the plane, Villa Escudero, Quiapo, Singapore. Maybe it’s his spiky hair, or chinky eyes, or naughty smile, or deep dimples, or maybe all of the above. I guess it’s not just my biased opinion as his mommy – he really does look every inch like a future heartbreaker. (When we go out, I have to dress extra glamorously lest I get mistaken to be his nanny. Haha.)

Randy says ‘naswertehan nyo si Boots’, teasing us bcoz Boots turned out to be so good-looking. Randy is so right tho – we are blessed twice over to have Boots in our lives.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Merlion Adventure

Singapore is all tall, imposing buildings, busy, disciplined streets. I could so live in Singapore, somebody cold and heartless like me. I could go and make loads of moolah in one of those cutthroat offices, shop along Orchard, have multi-racial friends, be fabulous everyday and snooty to everyone. I can so see me being this way.

1. Halloween @ The Night Safari. It was probably the most authentic Halloween party I've ever been in, with the grotesque costumes and props, and all sorts of ghastly creatures coming up to you in the dark. It was all so seriously scary that Bootsie gave up within two minutes into the train ride and kept saying thruout, 'Scared ako sa Halloweeen. I like Christmas lang.' Even Yoshi who has always had a thing for the macabre became terrified at some point (altho he's too grown-up now to admit it).

It has become a running joke with me and the two boys. We’d look at our pix and say, here you look like a creature from the night safari. Or Ches would come in from somewhere and the three of us would tell him, you look exactly like a creature from the night safari. Hahaha.

The monsters clearly outshone the animals that night. In fact, I was thinking the whole thing would've been all rather boring if it also didn't happen to be Halloween. One thing I liked tho was the corporations adopting the animals. My favorite was Tiger Balm adopting the tiger. Well, obviously. Hahaha.

2. Universal Studios. Except for Bootsie (who was a scaredy cat again), we all loved the Steven Spielberg show where buildings exploded, boats sank, there was tthunder and lightning and fire and a fantastic storm – the whole works. Everyone was clapping and hooting after the show. I love Spielberg. Indiana Jones. Back to the Future. Close Encounters. The Color Purple. Saving Private Ryan. Schindler’s List. Band of Brothers. From way back when I was just starting to watch movies until now, Spielberg is the man.

Ches and I wanted to try the Mummy ride that Ate said was a fun kind of scary, but Yoshi could only feel the scary and couldn’t see any of the fun. So then we decided we'd leave the boys with Ate, at which exact time Bootsie decided he wanted to come with us. He definitely won't be allowed in yet, so goodbye, Mummy ride. (Sigh. Parenthood.)

All we got to try were the ho-hum kiddie rides (that we are forced to ride and line up for as part of our parental obligations) like the Accelerator (a.k.a. bump car), the Treasure Hunters trucks, Dino Soarin', Puss in Boots' little ferris wheel, and the Madagascar carousel. The last one was my favorite, mainly bcoz of the cool dance songs that played all thruout the ride (I like to move it, move it ...) There was the 75-second junior roller coaster, too – the 'junior' deceiving bcoz it was still all fast and loopy and tummy-churning and all Yoshi and I could do was scream and close our eyes thruout.

Bootsie liked the 4D Shrek show, and fondly remembers the spiders on his feet and Donkey's spit on his face. Univ Studios was only about half the size of HK Disneyland, hence, we were able to go around twice and even catch The Streetboys' (proudly Filipino) performance and the Monster Rock live musical. We missed the Waterworld show tho bcoz Yosh and Ches took forever in the Rapids Adventure.

We were also happy to meet Marilyn Monroe. In my next life, I'm going to look so fabulous that I can hold down a job where all I will be required to do is smile there and pose like some long-dead Hollywood actress and people will line up just to have a picture with me. And I won't even have to think or say a thing – the look and smile alone will earn me the big bucks.

3. Sentosa. It’s Bootsie’s turn to pick on the butterflies, in much the same way Yoshi did at the butterfly garden we visited in Palawan. And when I say ‘pick’ I mean literally to catch, squeeze ... and murder. Yosh managed to mangle a lot of the poor things before we realized what he was doing. With Bootsie, we knew better so we were able to stop him right away. Tho he managed to permanently injure one, I think. (I’m sorry, I swear.)

The cable car ride was Yoshi’s birthday wish come true. Lorie (my beloved travel agent) initially said it wasn’t part our package so Ate offered to treat us for the ride. I told her we might not have time for it tho, and she goes, we’ll make time bcoz it’s what Yoshi wants. Hahaha. Brats stick together.

The boys also enjoyed the touch pools and the travellator in the tunnel with the sea creatures overhead. They loved being inside the merlion’s head and getting prizes from a merlion statue.

We missed the light and sound show by the beach that Jon highly recommended and which I read was multi-awarded (like the Symphony of Lights in HK). It wasn’t part of our tour itinerary. This is the trade-off with package tours – you get the convenience of having everything arranged for you, you don’t have to line up for tickets or anything, cushy coasters or buses take you right to your hotel doorstep, but you have to be at the designated place at the designated time and cannot go ambling around as long as you wish.

Jon also said we would’ve saved a lot if we had made our own arrangements instead of going on all these package tours. Jon has the guts to say this bcoz his kids are grown and he doesn’t have to be lugging around a hyper-active two-year-old like Bootsie in a foreign land. Hahaha.

What can I say? I’m Miss Lazy Bones and my principle has always been, if I can afford to pay for something that will take away a lot of stress in my life, then I think that’s money well spent and better enjoyed than if it’s just lying around in a bank somewhere.

4. The hotel. If you ask Bootsie what his favorite part of the trip was, he’d say: the hotel. And we are all like, it’s ugly kaya! Hahaha. I guess he liked it bcoz of the elevator and bcoz his beloved Kitty was waiting for him in the room. (Yes, we brought that dirty, stinky old pillow all the way to the lion city. Groan.)

It’s not really ugly ugly – it’s clean and functional and your usual three-star. The rooms are small tho, and the breakfast buffet not all that extensive, and there are no high ceilings or fresh flowers or anything. Hahaha.

The best part about it is its location. It’s spitting distance to the marvellous Kopitiam (see below), the National Museum, the Singapore School of the Arts, and Orchard Road. Ate and I walked to Bugis Market after dinner and she was able to get some serious shopping done there. (Hence, she didn’t have money anymore to take us to Marina Bay Sands, which was good news to acrophobic me.) The whole lot of us also walked to Plaza Singapura where we lazed while waiting for our late flight. We didn’t even have to take any cabs to get to all these interesting places.

My favorite thing about the hotel tho was the big mirror in the bathroom. While I’m all preoccupied with my usual scalding hot showers, Ches would sneak in and scribble mushy stuff in the mirror. It became a guessing game for me what he was going to write next. (I love Ches and his impromptu crazy, romantic ideas. We’re so cheesy, I know. Don’t you just hate us?)

5. Kopitiam. Lorie forgot all about the cable car ride, but she did remember this resto across the hotel that served all kinds of cuisine and was open 24 hours. And that was Kopitiam. The food wasn’t cheap, but it was yummy and fast and the place was clean and cold.

I had Japanese fried rice and chicken, pho soup one night and tom yum soup the next, ramyun, exotic-looking and –sounding dimsum, the works. The sticky rice with something like an adobo filling that Ate ordered was a winner (she brought some home). She loved the innards and noodle dish from the place called ‘Wang Ji Pig Organ Soup’. (How can you go wrong with a name like that? Haha.) Ches, as usual, ordered crazy drinks like the dragonfruit and honeydew shakes that tasted a lot like ground leaves. Yoshi is forever happy with his fried rice and chicken and siomai and siopao, Bootsie with whatever kind of rice and soup.

And the desserts! We all went crazy over the desserts. The specialty was something called bo bo cha cha (I guess their version of halo halo). We also had a tall frozen thing with durian bits and durian ice cream on top. We tried almost every dessert in the menu. Our favorite was the Mango Sunrise.

One of my fondest memories of the trip is Bootsie singing happy birthday to me and the same lines over and over from the Eheads’ Wag Kang Matakot while we’re all digging into the Mango Sunrise. ('Wag kang matakot, di kita pababayaan kailanman. Sa iyong tabi, di kita pababayaan kailanman. Sa iyong tabi...') Priceless.