Monday, May 28, 2012

Lily

I guess Ches has had enough of me hoarding his laptop when we were in the US so I could blog away, or maybe he couldn’t resist the floral print which he knows I will just die over, or it’s also possible that he just truly loves me and thinks I deserve to be happy. Whatever it was, I opened my closet one night to find this floral netbook beauty nestled among my clothes:


I call her Lily. Isn’t she so fabulous? She’s thin and light and comes in an exquisite coral shade with peach flowers. She looks all dainty and fragile and I imagine her perfectly belonging in a snooty Victorian setting like that in Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice. She's so little and feminine and reminds me of this line from e.e. cummings: 'nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands'. Hahaha. I'm crazy, I know.

And bcoz it came from Ches, he also knows exactly what else I needed: a keyboard protector, bcoz I’m always eating in front of the computer and getting morsels on the thing. Gross, I know. Hahaha.


What’s more, Lily gives me the perfect excuse to order a quaint netbook sleeve from Cath Kidston. Yes!!! Hahaha. (And right on the dot, Ardo emails me to ask for permission to go on extended leave to watch the London Olympics. I told him yes, I'll let him go, on one condition: buy me a Cath Kidston netbook sleeve. Hahaha. Winner! I just love it when all the forces of the universe seem to conspire to bring me joy.)

In a span of less than a month, Ches bought me my Hello Kitty a la Cath Kidston bag, took me to see the Cape Santiago lighthouse, planned an exotic trip for our 10th wedding anniversary, and got me this netbook that is so me. Is it any wonder this guy is My First And Only? =)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Grassy Sunday


Finally, after we had waited 60 million years and several people at the SMDC customer service had ample doses of The Malditaness in her element, my aunt-in-law’s Grass unit was turned over to us in March. Since Lola Thelma and her family are based in Shanghai, Ches the beloved nephew has been appointed gatekeeper and we’ve been told to go and enjoy the unit and amenities as much as we want.

Lola Thelma fondly calls the place ‘The Shoebox’ bcoz it’s so small. Two bedrooms at 56 square meters. For which she paid oodles of millions. Tsk tsk. I myself have never been charmed by condos – in addition to dreading the acrophobic nightmare of living so high up in the sky, I also like my white picket fences, my mail boxes, my vast closet space, and room for all my country d├ęcor. Randy and I have just agreed on this last weekend: if I’m ever going to build another house, it will definitely be in the suburbs.

The boys love Grass tho bcoz of two things: the pool and the playground. They’ve long wanted to go swimming but our weekends are always so full. And when we finally set out to go - it rained! Bootsie cried and cried. It was cute but I also empathized with him bcoz I know how it feels to be young and to look forward to something only to be disappointed in the end. So it was good that the weather cleared up and the boys got to spend several hours playing in the water. They were so grateful after, effusively thanking Ches and me for taking them to Grass. My boys are so sweet that way.






I emailed pictures to Lola Thelma and told her The Shoebox is not so bad – at least the pools were large (and there were three separate ones), the lawns clean, and the lobby cold and surprisingly not The Height of Tacky (considering this is an SM project hahaha).





I just know Randy will scoff at all that fake grass, tho. What were they thinking, right? Hahaha.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bullies

One of my pet peeves at work is reviewing a difficult contract and trying to fix it as much as I can to make it mutually acceptable, only to be told after all that effort that the other party will not accept any revisions. This almost happened last year in a gazillion peso project we invested in. I put my foot down and told my boss that, as a matter of principle, I will not give legal clearance to a contract of adhesion over a project that is worth so much. Luckily, my boss and I agree on most things, so that got sorted out fine, we made the revisions we wanted in an implementing agreement.

This week I was faced with the same issue over a substantially smaller project, a promo-tie up with a fast food chain, where if you buy our products you can show the pack and redeem freebies from the other store. It was a no-brainer, really, but what I didn’t like was a provision that limited the other party’s product liability to within an hour from purchase. It’s just blatantly unreasonable and unfair bcoz (1) we have nothing to do with their friggin hamburgers and fried chickens and whatever else, and (2) we have no control over when the costumers eat their darned products.

They came back and said we’re not being made liable; the provision should be interpreted to mean that the costumers no longer have any recourse unless they eat the products within an hour from purchase. And also – and this is always my favorite line from these big businesses – the contract is a standard form for all their business partners. We replied that (1) costumers are not a party to the contract and hence any provision relating to costumers has no basis, (2) in case of a dispute, the contract will be interpreted by the courts based on its language and not the interpretation of any one party, and (3) limiting their product liability to one hour from purchase violates the Consumer Act. (I actually just winged this last part without checking the law, but I’m sure, if put on the spot, I could find a provision there somewhere to this effect. Or else whydahell would they even have named it Consumer Act?! Hahaha.)

I pretty much expected their response: the contract is a standard form for all their business partners (like I didn't get this the first time, bcoz I'm a dumb lawyer from UP Law - duh), and they cannot accept any changes. In other words, take it or leave it.

If that isn’t The Height of Bullying.

In the end we told the people from our side, we leave it to your business judgment whether to proceed with this contract, we’ve done our part by pointing out our legal risks. And they’re going ahead with it, and it’s not a big issue at all, really – it’s just a short-term promo that’s not even worth P1 million. My objection was more a matter of principle, and a very basic legal one, at that, right there in the first provision on Contracts in the Civil Code - that a contract is a meeting of the minds between the parties. Which means we have to agree and settle our issues in good faith, and that you don’t bully me and turn your back on me when you run out of arguments to counter my position.

I know, I know, choose your battles and all of that – but if you can’t even stand by your principles on small matters, what more the big ones, right?

At times like this, all I can say is Bootsie's crazy line from one of his and Kuya's Nickelodeon shows: Put a sock on it, Afro!!! Whatever that means. It sounds vaguely racist, but what I like is that it's tough and unforgiving. It sounds exactly like what I would want to say to a bully. Hahaha.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer Reads


I picked up a lot of goodies from the Fully Booked bestsellers rack when we got home from vacation.

Thirteen Reasons Why is one of those stories that you just have to tell other people about. I finished it in one go on those nights when I still had jet lag. It’s about a girl who commits suicide and leaves tapes for the 13 people who all had something to do with her death. It’s eerie, one-of-a-kind, and endlessly heartbreaking. Critics have heaped superlatives on this book, but I think they forgot to notice the resemblance to The Lovely Bones. That’s what struck me most of all. If I read only one book this year, Thirteen Reasons would have been enough.

Looking For Alaska belongs to the coming-of-age genre that I love in movies and books. Like A Separate Peace, Catcher in The Rye, Stand By Me, Sleepers. It was laugh-out-loud funny and poignant both. The only thing I didn’t like was the sudden death. When that happens in a story – like in One Day or City of Angels or My Girl – I feel cheated somehow, and think like, why couldn’t you have just let the story take its course without killing somebody? I think death is too big an event to just be one of the things that happens in a story, so if it’s going to happen at all, the story has to revolve only around it. Which is why I found Reign Over Me and Rachel Getting Married too perfect (even if I’m not a fan of Anne Hathaway). But that’s just me. Haha.

There were no deaths in An Abundance of Katherines - only fun, laughter, and an amazing amount of trivia. I loved the teenage characters, especially Hassan the Middle Eastern sidekick. Some books I feel protective over and want to keep away from Hollywood (as if I have any power, right? hahaha), but other books I can’t wait to see on the big screen bcoz I just know it will be even more hilarious being acted out by, say, the same actors in Harold and Kumar, or Hang Over. This is one of those books. Looking For Alaska is John Green’s award-winner, but it is An Abundance of Katherines that has turned me into a certified John Green fan. I’ve actually already ordered his latest book, Paper Towns, from Fully Booked. Who cares if his novels are classified as young adult? The cashier doesn’t ask my age when I pay. Hahaha.

I have yet to read A Visit From The Goon Squad. I was intrigued when I saw it at the bestsellers table. It looked like the kind of quirky story I would enjoy, bcoz it was about ‘an aging punk rocker’ and the ‘troubled young woman he employs’. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner, too. I guess you can’t go wrong with ‘goon squad’ in your title, right? Haha.

The Happiness Project I was glad to find here. I saw an intellectual-looking Asian reading it at the Detroit airport on our way home. I like to pretend to be one of those cynical, surly kids who never smile and never find joy in anything bcoz nothing ever passes their coolness standards. But I’m an epic fail in this endeavor as you may have noticed. I’m actually A Big Happiness Whore – from my love affair with bright prints, flowers, rainbow colors, and a certain kitten with an oversized head and a big red bow. It’s no use pretending, right? As Bootsie likes to say in his recent default answer to everything: Oh, forget it! Hahaha.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Amazing List 7

1. Friends who take you out to share their blessings, like Beavis who treated me at Uncle Cheffy’s from his Ayala Olympics winnings. On top of everything, this guy is also a champion runner.

2. Then there was my other friend T from SM who also treated me to Xin Tian Di at Crowne Plaza. She is not only pretty and generous, she is also a kick-ass CIO. I love her. She remains one of my favorite people in my past SM life. I let her treat me all the time bcoz her salary is always bigger than mine. Hahaha.



3. Holes in the wall like Rub that are close enough to home that we could go whenever we feel like eating out. Ches loved the ribs, the boys loved their chicken, I loved my blackened fish, and we all loved the fried Oreos served with scoops of vanilla ice cream in the middle. Yummy.

4. Working so close to home that I could have lunch at Chicken Charlie with my boys

5. New finds like Nomnomnom which has no ambience to speak of but serves yummy food

6. Then there’s Crazy Shawarma at the Trinoma food court that Anji told us about in one of our lunchtime junkets there. It’s a one-of-a-kind shawarma with crispy chips and cheesy dressing. I love it.

7. Friends like Thom who visit at home on a regular basis and never fail to bring Moon Leaf and cashews

8. Friends who take the time to email or text to say they like something or the other that they read in my blog =) (I love you, too, Ches, Ate, Bryan, Kaye, Loudette, Pie, Babette, Eycee, Jon!)

9. Being told by a reliable source that your favorite person in the office likes chatting with you bcoz you take the place of his little sister who's far away. Owww. It's magic words like these that get me thru an entire week of slugging it out in the office.

10. Being strong enough and free enough to do something good like volunteer for a medical mission in Malabon

11. Kamiseta summer sale! Woohoo! After weeks of being shopping sober since we got back, weeks I spent slowly nursing my maxed out credit cards back to life, I'm ready to break the fast, and there's no better place to do some damage than my favorite store =)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Weekends






There's something about the searing sunshine that makes you just want to go out and soak it all up. I see it in the office where a lot of people (including us in Legal) spend a longer time having lunch outs or heading to the door right at 5:01 for some gimmick or the other.

Friday Ches and I were supposed to have dinner with some friends but it was canceled at the last minute. So I went to see Ches in Mall of Asia instead. I miss MoA. We ate at Jatujak and were so happy as usual with their tom yum, pad thai, and tall iced teas. We also tried the crispy pork. Happiness. Just as good but not as pricey as Mango Tree in Trinoma. We had Gong Cha milk teas, too, of course.

Saturday we made plans to take Mom out for a belated Mothers' Day treat, since we were in Batangas last weekend. We picked her and Vada up and had photo ops with their new dog for the benefit of Ate who has long wanted a Labrador.




Sib is 2 years old and golden like Hunter. (I missed Hunter all of a sudden.) True to his breed, he's very meek and friendly and not aggressive or loud at all like our little terriers and mini pinschers. He was a gift from Papa's cousin who also gave him the strange name. Vada has found the perfect explanation for it, tho: it's short for 'sibaboy'. Hahaha. He does look hefty in every angle.

Like last year, we went to Galleria and got the kids' school supplies. I also got Mom stuff from Kamiseta. She loves the brand, too. Or maybe she just has no choice since it's what Ate and I buy for her all the time. Hahaha.

Lunch was at Icebergs bcoz Ches wanted some halo-halo. He also shared my sisig, Boots and Vada had chicken and fries, Mom and Yoshi ordered one plate each of lechon kawali. So yummy. We love this place. Ches actually proposed to me while I was having one of their giant parfaits in their Panay branch. Hahaha.




Sunday we reserved for Kia's party. It was at Makati Park and Garden which we've never been to before. It's a nice big park with trees, fountains, a lagoon, even aviaries. Well, it's nice if you can ignore stinking Pasig River just outside the wall, that is.



The boys had a blast at the party, as usual. We were losers at the Bring Me game but more than made up for it by winning big in the Name That Soundtrack game. Ches and I are not both movie geeks for nothing. Haha. It was too bad I was the only one present from our QT gang.




From the party we went to have mochi ice cream at Mochiko and the famous offbeat burger at Offbeat Cafe. We tried all sorts of flavors at Mochiko - cookie dough, caramel, strawberry, mango, vanilla, azaki, black sesame, and milk tea. (Yes, that's how big our family's combined appetite is.) My favorites were the cookie dough and azaki. Apparently they ship the azaki all the way from Japan (all the others are FIC ice cream). Cool, huh. My only problem is that they are too small. Haha. When I'm eating ice cream I need at least two huge scoops to fill my tummy. Better yet a pint. Haha. (I miss Sundae School all of a sudden.)




Offbeat came in highly recommended by Ardo, but I had a bit of an issue with their customer service. (My boys would object to the 'a bit' part bcoz I actually threw a major hissy fit that scared even the three of them who are normally immune to my malditaness. Haha.) The offbeat burger was well worth the fight (literally) tho. It's thick beef patty + sunny side up + melted cheese + bacon, all on top of a Krispy Kreme glazed donut. What else could you ask for a Sunday dinner?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Calatagan


If I recall correctly, our first QT junket was in Punta Baluarte in Calatagan. I was probably asleep in the car, tho, bcoz how else could I have missed this grand arch held up by two lighthouses? It has got to be The Most Fantastic Welcome Arch Ever.


Our destination was Cape Santiago, a lighthouse built in 1890. The only other lighthouse I’ve seen in the Philippines is Cape Bojeador in Ilocos. How sad is that?

It turns out the lighthouse is also the site of last year’s Shake, Rattle, and Roll. Ate Ann knew as soon as she saw the rickety gates. The caretaker, Mang Junior, confirmed it, too. Ate should know bcoz she is Yoshi’s constant date year after year when he watches the friggin movie during the filmfest. Haha.

We climbed all 65 steps of it. The view from the top was amazing, even from my acrophobic perspective.


I was scared climbing it not only bcoz of the height but also bcoz the spiral steps looked like they were about to crumble any moment.


I loved the sheer ancientness of it. Mang Junior explained that the house was originally made of wood but it was all falling apart and so renovation started on its 100th anniversary in 1990. I don’t think it was ever quite finished tho bcoz it still looked old in a lot of places except for the cemented wall. I would personally prefer to keep it that way, but I also want it preserved and not run down altogether.


How lovely is Cape Santiago? It is old and mighty and perfect in every way. It broke my heart.


And it was all courtesy of Ches. He looked up interesting places near Nasugbu to take me to, which is how we got to Caleruega and Cape Santiago. To get to the lighthouse, he had to drive for about two hours from Nasugbu and back. The last stretch of that drive was thru this dirt road that was one-way and eerie and every bit Blair Witch. Haha.


I told Ches: If I had any doubts at all about the magnitude of your love for me, Cape Santiago definitely erased them all. Hahaha. Cheesy.

(Thank you, Chestnuts, for making my mothers’ day.)