Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy List 4

1. My black, glittery VS eyeshadow from Ate. It’s like something right out of The Craft. Big help in creating the snooty aura I am always aiming for. Haha.

2. MIB’s treat in Omakase for our oh-so-stressful admin investigation work

3. Learning new nosebleed words like ‘emplace’ and ‘finagle’ from officemates crazy enough to use them in everyday conversation

4. Victoria Casal’s Kitty line. First Babette texts me when it comes out in the Inquirer. Then Robert emails me a link from a website. The stuff are too exquisite for words. I need a rich relative to buy me some. (Hint, Ate. Haha.)

5. Dissing this girl’s English in emails with Thom and Paula. It’s mean, I know, but it’s just a little harmless fun. We don’t insult her to her face or anything.

6. Yosh knowing all the Backyardigans episodes we have CDs of, even if he was into these things way before when he was still Bootsie’s age. He’s a big help when I call from Trinoma where I’m getting more CDs for Bootsie this time.

7. Yakimix with Ches and Rosa. My treat to Rosa bcoz of her 100% loyalty. Haha. It was her first time, and she loved it.

8. All the freebie stuff we get from the office every week or so. I never even have to buy cough syrup bcoz they give us Ascof, vitamin C (Poten-Cee), toothpaste and mouthwash (Oracare), dietary fiber (C-Lium), Vada’s appetite stimulant (Propan), and all these other meds and products. My relatives and friends love it that I’m always bringing home these freebies or buying stuff for them at 50 off. Shameless plug. Haha.

9. Foot spa with pedicure and manicure at the newly-opened Got A Polish in the neighborhood. Having my nails done is one of my favorite cheap thrills. I love it when the attendant is the fierce kind who leaves my big toes all battered like they've lost a major war, and the morning after they’re all reddish and painful in all the right places. Aaahhhh. BTS.

10. Being unforgiving in my emails cc all the bosses. I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but it seems I’ve lost all capacity to be cowered and just say what I have to say all in the interest of setting the record straight. Must be old age.

11. Rosa finally winning a weekly weigh-in

12. Catching up with Liz and seeing Regina again after so many months

13. Tawilis and dinuguan from Rodics (since they’ve run out of my favorite jumbosilog)

14. Mangoes and bagoong from Rino. He picks the fruits from the neighbors’ trees and cooks his special bagoong for me bcoz he knows I’m always craving for these even when I’m not pregnant. Yum.

15. Twister fries and brazo-flavored sundae from Mc Do. Nothing beats the caramel sundae tho. It’s still the best.

16. Dinner for Schmucks. This movie has The Best Opening Scene Ever. It shows Steve Carell making wondrous little dollhouses with fully dressed up small mice to the timeless tune of Fool On The Hill.

17. Baked ziti, stuffed pizza, and chicken from Sbarro. When we’re out malling and looking for a place to eat in, Ches’ default is Sbarro (and mine is Pancake House). All of the dishes here are so good. They boys suggested we eat here everyday, and I had to tell them we can't afford that. Haha.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy List 3

1. Cashews from Thom. The best part is, all the vendors in the canteen are in love with him so the jars are always filled to the brim, and with extra garlic flakes, too.

2. Walking around the block with Rosa and the girls, in aid of their Biggest Loser efforts. I love the whole serenity of the South Triangle neighborhood behind our office, while we walk and gossip just as the sun is setting, and with the smell of dried leaves burning. The best part is the fishballs that we have at the end of our walks (which just about negate all the calories we manage to burn in our little work-out haha). This Manong is quite famous, apparently. (I need to remember to ask his name soon. In my mind I call him Manong Fishballs, and I know that’s really bad. It’s like Manong Guard or Ate Lumpia in UP. Groan.) His stand is right behind the GMA office, so when the reporters need to interview someone about the rising prices of gasul or mantika or something, he’s the man. Haha. (It was so funny the first time we did this. I texted Ches that I was walking around the block with the girls. So he was on his way to pick me up from SM bcoz, knowing me, he thought we were at SM The Block. Hahaha.)

3. Keebler’s chocolate chip cookies from Ches

4. Texts and several bits of good news from my old friend Phoebe

5. Phone calls with Thom and Monette that last almost an hour

6. My other good friend from SM finding a way out of there, too. I’m so happy for her, and the fact that practically all my friends have resigned also validates my decision to leave.

7. Bootsie: Oh, I forgot my sunglasses. And off he runs to get it from the drawer. He can hardly leave home without it. Even if he’s just taking me to the street corner where I get a cab to work. Or even when he’s all lethargic and we’re on our way to have him confined in the hospital. (And when we’re in St. Luke’s and Ches asks him if he wants anything from home, he says he needs his Simpsons watch with the pink donut. Haha. Ches shakes his head and says, he’s your son thru and thru.)

8. Our CEO barges into my room for his usual queries and notices my red Kitty lunch box. He says, I see you borrowed your daughter’s lunch box. Haha. He knows very well I have two boys.

9. Grilled tuna sandwich with cheese and lettuce prepared by Ches

10. One of my worst asthma attacks ever miraculously subsiding overnight (even when I don’t use the nebulizer coz I feel way too sick)

11. One blessed night when Yoshi and Boots shared the DVD player and did not fight over it

12. Being inspired enough at work that I don’t just do my job fast and thoroughly, but even go the extra mile and vie for Miss Proactive. Hahaha.

13. People in the office being generous with their compliments, and they cc your boss, too, when they thank you for a job well done. Isn’t that so nice? I’ve worked with people who never show any gratitude at all (maybe they think your salary should be enough gratification for you) and then they go and cc the whole world when you mess up some small thing like a typographical error or something. Grrr.

14. Spending a whole afternoon composing a long, detailed recommendation for my staff’s promotions and salary increases – bcoz they’ve all deserved it for the longest time and no one has just bothered to sit down and do this for them

15. Bitching about officemates with Rosa. She has turned into something like my other office friends (Thom, Paula) with whom I spend the whole day and the whole week and yet we still have a lot to text about when we’re out of the office. Haha. Rosa says, I’m 100% loyal to you. And I say, we UP girls should stick together. Haha.

16. MIB taking it upon himself to forward my work emails to Ann just so I won’t have to be bothered by them anymore when I’m watching over my kids in St. Luke’s

17. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards, although for some reason there was not one character in the book that I liked enough. I did like the part which said, sometimes we think we’re vessels to be filled up with love, when the love is within us all along and all it takes to awaken this love is to give it away. Nice.

18. Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho. It was truly ingenious but I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more if those darned PMS kids hadn’t told me the whole twist like two months before they actually lent me the book. Groan.

19. Easy A which is the kind of smart, breezy little movie I usually enjoy, but I have a problem believing that someone who looks like Emma Stone is not considered a hottie in high school. Or that she even belongs in high school. She looks just like Meredith Grey, or the love interest of Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Well, whatever. It was witty, and I loved her quirky family. Lisa Kudrow is here, too. I love her. She's My All-Time Ditzy Idol.

20. [Barely] passing this health quiz in Readers’ Digest. I definitely lead a sedentary (since I don’t work out except for the occasional walking with the girls and dancing with Bootsie) albeit clean lifestyle (bcoz I don’t smoke and rarely drink and floss compulsively everyday). I’m also semi-healthy (despite all the bad stuff I eat and the sheer volume of them, my saving grace is that I eat a lot of vegetables) and semi-happy. I would’ve thought I’m a fully happy person, but then I failed in the items that involved sleep problems and flaring tempers. Haha. That’s all right tho. Even better, actually, since dark and brooding and only semi-happy is how all the cool kids are – forever bright and chirpy are for dorks. Haha.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hospital Blues

It started Tuesday night when Bootsie threw up his dinner. His poop was soft too. But then I had one of my unbelievable asthma attacks on Wednesday (the kind that makes me think I might die of it in my sleep, hence I resolve to be a better person, but then I’m still alive the following morning, so I just go back to being my evil self). So it wasn’t until Thursday that we brought Boots to the Capitol ER. He was still hyper then, and the pedia diagnosed his illness as UTI bcoz there were bacteria in his pee and his stool was normal.

Friday morning he still had diarrhea and was lethargic already, so Ches and I decided it was time to have him confined in St. Luke’s. It was his first hospitalization ever. You can just imagine his pain when the needle had to be inserted on his hand for the IV fluids, and again on his other hand when they extracted blood for all the tests. He cried and screamed and trashed his little arms about. It was heartbreaking. The whole extraction did not work, actually, bcoz they couldn’t get enough to fill the second vial, and whatever they got clotted and could not be tested. That’s when I put on my supermom armor and told them, we’re not having any more blood tests, thank you.

Saturday I brought Yoshi to the hospital bcoz – as you know – we’re the kind of family who can’t stand being away from each other. And then in the afternoon he became feverish and started vomiting and pooping, too, and didn’t wanna eat anything. (When my kids lose their appetite, then we know they are seriously sick.) So Ches and I decided to just have him camp out with us instead of sending him home without any parent to look after him. Ches brought him to the ER the following day and he ended up staying with us till we went home Monday afternoon.

By Monday Yoshi was better and Boots was back to his hyper self and has reached the end of his patience with the IV leash he was on for four whole days. It turned out that he had something called rota virus which causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. His poop was still softish but the pedia allowed us to go home already since he was eating again and his tummy was a lot more stable.

The same pedia tried to collect her PF of P14k from us, saying she was not accredited with Ches’ HMO provider. The P14k was like half our bill. In the three times that Yoshi and I have been confined in St. Luke’s, we never had to cough up for PFs and our HMO covered everything. So of course I was livid and threw one of my infamous major tantrums with Customer Service. Whydahell was she assigned to us if she was not accredited with the HMO we were using which HMO we informed everybody as early as upon our admission and we wrote down in all the forms? Wasn’t that an SOP especially for a hospital that claims to be world-class? If there was no HMO-accredited physician available, why was this never disclosed to us so we could have made informed decisions and were told only when it was time to pay up?

With a tirade like that, guess who went home without having to pay the stupid P14k PF? Haha. I’m sure this is one of those times when Ches actually felt lucky he married somebody as feisty as me. And it’s not even bcoz I’m a lawyer – I think I’m just really maaway. I could’ve been a pre-school teacher or in some other noble profession, and I would’ve been maaway like this, anyway. Hahaha.

Needless to say, this was a tough week for all of us. The world stops when one of my kids get sick, and it just about freezes over when both of them get sick at the same time. Groan. Thank you, Lord, they’re both well on their way to recovery now.

This was actually our longest stay in a hospital. When I give birth or when we get sick, we’re usually out on the third day. I realized it’s a lot like when I travel by myself – four days feels too long and I’d be itching to go home already. Now I know why they call it ‘confined’ – you really do feel all claustrophobic being cooped up in the small room, with nothing to do and nowhere to go to.

Of course, being the eternal sunshine that is my family, we just had to find happy things despite the gloomy circumstances we were in, namely:

1. At the Capitol ER, Bootsie’s bed was beside those of two guys who were all bandaged up from a motorcycle accident. When their parents came rushing in and crying in hysterics, Bootsie said in his usual loud voice: They’re dead! They’re dead! So I was like, my gosh, they’re not dead, don’t say that. And he said even more loudly: My gosh, they’re dead! Aaarrgh.

2. Boots was given ORS to sip at the ER. Nobody likes the taste of that. The pedia kept checking up on him tho so he had no choice but to drink up. He complained about the bad taste after every single sip, as tho expecting it to change with the next gulp. When he’s had enough, he said: I’m so upsef! (Yes,with an f!) Hahaha. (Parang si Tito Robby lang.)

3. Midnight snack of Mc chicken, fries and Coke float when we got home from the ER

4. All the other restos near St. Luke’s, which we exhausted in the course of our stay. We had KFC chicken, Hap Chan nido soup, Jollibee breakfast longaniza meal, Pancake House fried chicken and gravy (My Favorite Chicken of All Time). The peanuts sold across St. Luke’s are also yummy. I liked going to the 7-11 and Mercury and Goldilocks, too, and buying stuff like Chupa Chups and sansrival.

5. One of the young residents who quizzed us about Bootsie’s birth history and all of that could not believe it when I told her I was 32 when I had Boots. She was like, so that makes you 35? Wow, I thought you were only in your 20s. Hahaha. Winner.

6. I came out of the shower in my long, flowing paisley skirt and a pink psychedelic-like Zara top. And just like that Boots says: Mommy, you’re a good person. Yes, so clear and declarative like that! So my jaw drops and I prod him, why am I good person, is it bcoz I take good care of you, and I’m so patient and kind? And Bootsie answers, Bcoz you’re a girl … you’re a girly girl! Hahaha! Ches says, you pushed your luck. You never know when to stop. Hahaha. (My gosh, if Boots thinks all girls are good persons, I have a lot to teach him when he reaches puberty.)

7. Despite the episode with the obscenely priced pedia (which battle I won, anyway haha), I love St. Luke’s. It’s so clean, and the staff are so efficient and friendly (no exception – all of them go the extra mile to help you), and there are all the nice little things like free Wi-fi in the room, fresh flowers and candies in the offices, a bottle sterilizer at the pedia section, and a heart-shaped chocolate cake that came with our lunch tray on Valentine’s Day.

8. Shakey’s thin crust pizzas, which we had on our first dinner back at home, and Ches’ Pizzanatic card that entitles us to free pizzas. Yum.

9. After dinner, I fix Yoshi’s stuff for school and find crumbs in his bag. So I dump these in the toilet bowl and what comes out of the bag but Ches’ mobile phone. It’s dripping wet and starts blinking ominously. The minute Ches gets back from his running Yoshi tattles: Dad, Mom did something!!! And he turns to me and asks all innocently, Mom, was that your Valentine’s gift for Dad? Groan.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Girl Who Reads

Once in a while a forwarded email comes along and it’s so beautiful that you just have to forward it to all your like-minded friends and you save it and print it and every so often you re-read it and fall in love with it all over again.

Such is the beauty of You Should Date An Illiterate Girl by Charles Warnke, who is supposedly a 21 year-old writer based in Berkeley, California. (My old friend Kaye went to UC Berkeley. She could have met this genius of a kid if we were way younger. Dang.)

For the first part he writes about going out and eventually settling down with a girl who doesn’t read. He vividly illustrates the mediocre life you’re going to have with this girl, ultimately ending in an uneventful death. He writes: Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.

The second part contains serious warnings about dating the girl who reads. He says life with her is hell and she makes his life so darned difficult. She knows too much and demands so much more. She puts meaning in every little thing. She makes life sound so much more amazing and colorful than it really is. He writes: a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. And: the girl who reads knows the importance of plot xxx and the ineluctable significance of an end. (I’ve always loved that word, ineluctable. It sounds good enough to eat.) And: The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold.

This is my favorite line: A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. It reminds me of that line in Up in The Air, when George Clooney visits Vera Farmiga at her house, and finds out that she’s a married woman with young kids, and she says something like: what did you expect? You were just a parenthesis in my life. Or something like that. She was such a bitch, really. No wonder I love her. Haha.

This is his last piece of advice: So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you. It reminds me of Kat’s Poem in Ten Things I Hate About You. The part where she goes: But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close. Not even a little bit. Not even at all.

Isn’t it just a thing of beauty? Who would have thought that literature and vocabulary, syntax and plot can teach a girl so much about relationships and life? And yet when you think about it, he is absolutely right. He even uses words like ‘specious’ and ‘vacuous’. So lovely and snooty-sounding albeit all nosebleed. Haha.

Like I’ve said in a previous blog, this article is The Best Compliment Ever for a girl who reads.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Happy List 2

(I’m posting a weekly list from now on since the last one – which covered a whole month – was a nosebleed even for the blabbermouth likes of me. Haha.)

1. My mustard Nine West bag that Ches got me for no reason or occasion at all last year
2. My iPod that contains all my favorite songs like New Snow (which I first heard in Riza’s car on our way to Freddie’s party, with Ron and Don – those were the APSM days), Coldplay’s Yellow, Salamat (for me, one of the greatest Pinoy songs ever, and it’s not even by the Eraserheads haha), Rainbow (another OPM favorite), Together in Electric Dreams (my favorite 80s song), Patti Austin’s Say You Love Me, etc.
3. 60 million kisses from Yoshi bcoz I’m home sick for two days. He’s affectionate everyday but is even sweeter when I’m sick. On any given day he’d get up from whatever he’s doing (reading, watching, playing) and come to me with a kiss. Or whenever we pass each other in the house he spreads his arms out in a big, tight hug. He’s what Mama calls consuelo. He’s worth so much more than what we do for him.
4. Texts and emails from my boss telling me to take as long as I need to rest (and when I reply thru my Blackberry to this work-related query that he emails, he goes: Didn’t I tell you not to work from home? Hahaha. I so love him.)
5. Texts from Popsy using the celphone I just got him, asking after me bcoz he saw I was dripping with colds over the weekend
6. Conviction with Hillary Swank and Sam Rockwell. Its beauty lies in being one of the rare things in life that will make you proud to be a lawyer. And it’s about sibling love too. Plus it’s based on a true story.
7. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I love coming-of-age stories. My list of favorite books includes Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace.
8. Ches baby-sitting me whether or not I’m sick
9. Bootsie: I love raining!
10. Picnic of chips and dips with Bootsie at night when I’m insomniac and he’s also still hyper from a long afternoon nap. I love these quiet times I have with my boys way into the night when everyone else is asleep. They’re so behaved and sweet that I suspect they fear I’m going to turn into a monster or something when no one else is looking. Haha.
11. Sequined and studded flats from Chocolate Schu Bar. I’m not really a flats person but I couldn’t resist the whole ballerina look of them. Schu gets my award for Funkiest Shoebox - chocolate brown, polka dotted, and with a big flowing bow.
12. Dresses from Debenhams, which include a pink Julien Mc Donald one. I guess good karma for The Dress That Got Away from me two years ago.
13. Wild and gossipy and endless phone calls with Randy
14. Yoshi’s cards. He gave me and Ches an advanced one for Valentine’s. He wrote stuff like, I promise to be a good and mature kuya to Boots. Owww. He gives these cards for no reason or occasion at all. Last time, he wrote, Thank you, Mom, for buying me all of these books and toys and taking us to the mall and zoo and museum. He makes these things for Mama, too. He breaks our hearts all the time.
15. Playing catch and running around the house with Bootsie
16. The Cat That Changed My Life by Bruce Kaplan (who wrote some of my kids’ books). It’s too laugh out loud funny that I told Ches he just has to read it. Some parts are heartbreakingly sad, too.
17. A long email from Kaye where she talks about, among other things, trading her bag addiction for building Harry Potter Lego creations. I’m so happy we’ve stayed in touch even if she moved to California right after high school.
18. Heidi Mendoza. Brave, honest, noble. Female, wife, mommy.
19. The Tiger Mommy e-book emailed by Regie to Paula and me. Me: I’m not a tiger mom, I’m a cougar mom. Pau: I’m a tiger shark! Reg: The author is a MILF. Which explains his interest in the whole thing. Hahaha.
20. Hoarding undies from Accessorize. I’m a big undie junkie. A huge chunk of my shopping money goes to La Senza and Maidenform and Gap and M&S lingerie (as if all the Hello Kitty and VS stuff I get from Ate are not enough) . I love love love those from Accessorize bcoz they are so funky and comfy both. I have this paranoia that I’ll be raped or bombed somewhere and a split second footage of me in undies will be broadcast in 24 Oras or something. Hence, I invest in good undies.
21. Ches surprising me yet again by picking me up all the way in Galleria when I do my undie-hoarding activity
22. The super yummy and cheap sisig from Sisig Hooray
23. Snickers Blizzard
24. Ches: I realize I’m so lucky to have to have you bcoz you’re both sexy and smart. This is still a happy thought, albeit decades too late. Haha. I tell him: that’s sweet of you to say, but couldn’t you have maybe realized it a little bit sooner considering we’ve been together for a grand total of 15 years? And also, why just sexy and smart, what happened to witty and nurturing and selfless and good and all my other virtues? Hahaha.
25. Rosa’s KFC double down and Blizzard treat from her notary junket
26. You Should Date An Illiterate Girl by Charles Warnke (emailed by Rosa) which is so, so good that it merits an entire blog altogether. It’s The Best Compliment Ever for girls like me who, despite the demands of motherhood and lawyerhood, still manage to finish sometimes as many as three books a week.
27. Winning a bet against Ches over the name of the store where we got my CDs of Pinoy indies. I bet it’s Odyssey, he said he was sure we got it elsewhere. I found the receipt and won a free dinner in Omakase. Woohoo. (We’ve been having all these stupid bets since college. I lost most of the time. He might be a genius in Geography or History or those other serious stuff we used to bet on before – but I know my stores. Haha.)
28. Omakase’s American Dream and Seafood Dumpling, my absolute favorite Japanese foods next to salmon sashimi. (And we run into Donemark and Dendee and their two girls again in this place. It’s always happy running into old friends with their families. Much better than seeing them with their illicit flings. Haha.)
29. Yoshi still being No. 1 in his class and being the only Grade 1 student with a line of 9 in Science this third quarter. We consistently tell him it’s not important to be No. 1, what’s important is that he understands his lessons. But if he ends up No. 1, anyway, then we’re not complaining, and his grandparents are definitely proud and happy =)
30. Migos’ Jollibee birthday party. My boys and I love the whole craziness of these kiddie parties. The Jollibee was particularly hyper in this one, dancing away thru-out the party, teasing and even carrying Migos’ yaya. Ches said it’s probably Tito Aaron inside the costume. Haha. He sat beside me at one point and I told him he’s so graceful and he’s a winner. So then at his next dance he grabs me and makes me dance with him in front of everyone (much to the amusement of Ches and Beavis. Groan.)
31. Big, elegant, plush rugs from Mom, with tassels and in beige shades, too. She has all these fine things that she accumulated thru the years, never used and kept immaculate. Sometimes she decides from out of the blue that it’s time to bequeath me something from her treasures, and I don’t even have to ask.
32. Purging my closet and giving away clothes, shoes, bags, purses, even perfume.
33. The Kids Are All Right, about a family raised by a lesbian couple, smart without taking itself too seriously. I pitied the sperm donor character tho. He was cool and a good guy, and I felt that he was unkindly left out just to show that the gay relationship is the stronger, more enduring one.
34. Ches: You have long, sexy arms. Me: Yeah, I love my arms, too. They make me look thin even when the rest of me is not. Haha.
35. Giving the boys a good scrubbing when I bathe them and cutting their little nails. Simple motherhood joys.
36. Cleaning up my toiletry cabinet and realizing that I never even have to buy perfume, lotions, hand wash and stuff bcoz I get a regular supply from Ate, my sis-in-law in UK, my mom-in-law, and some relative or the other who visits from the US
37. Tito Aaron’s Shakey’s birthday treat
38. Leila’s baptism held at Mon’s family’s ancestral house in Pasig (mansion, more like). Ches and I noted how it was grander than some weddings we’ve been to. Haha. The AVP was too cute and the boys and I pigged out on paella and lechon skin.
39. Winter’s Bone. Rural, quiet, yet ultimately jarring. Worthy of the critical acclaim.