Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Awesome List 8

1.  Dreams coming true - e.g., when I get to announce half day or under time at work bcoz of the EDSA rally or storms or All Saints' Day.  Everyone in the office knows my one dream as HR head is to let people go home early.  Hahaha.

Part of HR work is meeting with a Miss Universe runner-up.
2.  The boys being all sweet and cuddly and exempting me from their usual verbal abuse when I'm sick

3.  Ticking items off my never-ending to-do list

4.  The sweet satisfaction of calling someone's bluff

5.  Small, quiet dinners at neighborhood restos like Thaipan

6.  ... or our favorites be they ever so far like Royal View Seafood Resto in MoA

7.  Getting thru The Most Toxic Week of the Year, and closing a transaction that no one thought would ever really happen.  To celebrate, the favorite boss takes us to Apartment 1B where he regales us with his love story, of all things.  Hahaha.  The favorite owner also takes us to Heat.  All's well that ends with good food.

8.  A fabulous purple shawl from Bangladesh from my two favorite doctors

9.  Scaring away unwanted job applicants when I put on my Bella Flores charms.  Mwa ha ha.

10.  My Gateway brunches with Babette, who recently left her job in pursuit of greater happiness and well-being.  Someone asked her if she can still be consulted in case any issues come up, and her reply was:  "Uh ... no!"  HAHAHA.  (You go, Babette!)  She is one of the few people I know who can be more maldita than me.  Hence, we are friends.

11.  Vanilla ice cream with Maltesers that the boys themselves grind, on lazy weekend afternoons

12.  Jon's birthday dinner at Crisostomo.  The word for the night was 'lactate'.  Hahaha.  Pigging out on yummy food + sipping wine with my favorite friends while the Eheads anthology CD plays on the background =  Better Than World Peace.


13.   Dinner with Robert and Eycee at the newly-opened UP Town Center.  Thom recommended the ribs at Casa Verde.  I have to give it to him - he does have a high batting average on these foodie tips.  Aside from the ribs, we had to have the giant chocolate milk shake, too.  We could barely finish it among the four of us. Gasp.

14.  My birthday treat at Brasas, and MIB's birthday treat for Aleli and me at Wildflour.  It's fun being 38!

15.  My birthday gift from Tolits - a big bowl of steaming macaroni soup, waiting for me on my desk when I got to the office.  Owww.  I LOVE Tolits.

16.  Snacking on milk tea, fried chicken, and fries at our Ortigas neighborhood Chatime with office friends

17.  Watching Maxie The Musicale with none other than the Randy.  We LOVED it.  Of course, it is based on Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros, which is only My Favorite Pinoy Indie Film of All Time, so already the musicale had a lot going for it.  It held its own, tho, against the movie.  The actors, script, choreography, costumes - amazing.  Randy and I mused that Pinoy indie films and plays have already so leveled up, it's about time for teleseryes to follow suit.  

18.  Catching up with Thom at a corporate governance forum in Resorts World.  It's not like we ever really lose touch bcoz we exchange texts and emails every week, but nothing still beats chatting in person and me being able to pinch Thom as in the good old days.  Except it's even better now that he has fatherhood bulges. Hahaha.

This is for Boots, my car addict baby.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Christmas Goes On

It was a good thing I had already dressed up our home for Christmas before Yolanda, or I wouldn't have had the energy to go thru the whole activity.  I don't know anyone with half a heart who was not affected by Yolanda, regardless of whether they have relatives or friends in the areas struck by the typhoon.  A catastrophe of that magnitude scars you, no matter how far removed you think you may be.  So our family did some things, and stopped ourselves from doing other things, but that's hardly something we should be advertising, should we.  

I have always felt that it was part of my motherhood duties to give the boys happy, memorable Christmases, and that starts in November when we put up our holiday decor.  As in the previous years, I recycled most of my old items, added a few new ones, and retired or gave away those that I could already live without.  I see people lined up in SM with carts upon carts of all kinds of holiday ware, like they use up new ones for the whole house every year.  I also had a boss in QT who used to have her Christmas tree done by professional designers with a different theme each year.  Gasp.  I will never be rich like that.

I started with a Frosty corner in my Lola's hand-me-down vanity table.  Last time I checked, it doesn't snow in the Philippines, so I have always found it strange that Frosty is a regular fixture in our holidays.  He's cute, tho, with his wide smile, carrot nose, and bloated tummy.  Two of my big Frosties are gifts, too, so I really cannot bear to part with him, snow or none.            

Our kitchen counter is same same from last year, with the mugs and saucers from Randy, and the pink poinsettias that we used for our very first Christmas tree nine years ago.  I just added my whimsical Santas, and Boots' Christmas tree from school last year.  

Part of my new buys from Dapitan this year are these lovely place mats with a quilt design that's oh so country.  I also like that it comes in shades of blue and purple, which are not your typical holiday colors.  At the center of the table I placed a box covered in Christmas plaid and used it as a vase to hold peach flowers, also from our ancient tree.

My favorite buy this year is this set of wooden decor that says Joy, Noel, and Love.  Joy + Love = Noel. Too perfect.  Best of all, it's made of wood.  I LOVE wood.

Boots:  Mom, who's Noel?  Sino sya sa belen?


Another favorite is this plate that says Happy Birthday, Jesus.  I LOVE it.  Everything else says Merry Christmas but this one goes straight to the celebrant and the star of the show.  (Cue 'Fruitcake':  If the reason for being happy takes a backseat when the season's done ...)

I added two new wooden Santas to my country collection.  One is the guy in the silver-and-white striped robe above, and the other is this tall, beige one below.

Boots:  Mom, is that Saruman?

HAHAHA.  He's so right.

This is how my credenza looks this year.  I think it looks the most solemn it has ever looked, in keeping with these austere times.

My early Christmas gifts from Randy include this wooden country beauty with only about 60 million exquisite carved creatures.  Gasp.  Randy is one of the people who always knows exactly what I want.

He also gave me these country cans.  All they need is some screaming happy red poinsettia, and they are so good to go.

Our staircase area is same same.  Our tree is nine years old this year.  We'll have it for at least another year, and then maybe we can give it away.  I'm a firm believer of if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I want to try out new things every year, tho.  I put up these red berries on our brick wall.  They're really nice up close.  Love the reds against the brown.  So country.  

Also as part of something new, I hung our country angels and bears on our little chandelier over the dining table.  They usually go into our Christmas tree but this time I thought they could be somewhere else.  The boys put up their dream catchers from Tita Jen in the same place.

Yoshi:  To be honest, Mom, those hanging things don't look good.  They remind me of a scene in Conjuring.

Typical snarky Yoshi, but at least true this time.  Even Blair Witch had this eerie image, actually.  Oh well, they're staying there, anyway.

Surprise - my Hello Kitty Christmas tree made its appearance in my room in the office this year.  Just bcoz I happened to have a nicer room that even came with a couch and a side table.  My Kitty tree fit perfectly on the side table in one corner.  It was a hit - people would come in and take pictures of it or have their pictures taken with it.  Tolits also wanted pictures and would linger and ooh and aah when he came in every morning to vacuum.  Hahaha.

Small joys for these tough times.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's Still My Dignity

I can't believe Boots is six.  He's still a baby for the most part. Part of the reason why we want another baby is so that Boots will finally grow up, in the same way that Yoshi matured when he became a Kuya at four. Actually Boots has always had an independent streak, and he was self-sufficient earlier on than Yoshi.  (He started eating by himself and refused to be fed by anyone as early as age two.)  He still gets clingy tho, and would cry if we leave him even for an hour to go to Mass (where all he does is climb the pews, anyway). He's still prone to throwing The Mother of All Tantrums, and can get pretty sensitive.  (He cries massively albeit belatedly at the end of his favorite trips, like when we got to Nagoya from the US, and when we got to CDO from Camiguin.)       

Oh, but he also has strokes of brilliance, like when none of us can remember the name of our driver/guide in Bicol, and it's the little one who figures it out.  Of course this is aside from all the nerdy stuff he knows about dinos, cars, buildings, etc.  And he's also too sweet.  He and Kuya gave me vouchers for my birthday, for a 10-minute back massage, for hugs and kisses, for help around the house, etc., valid for 30 days from my birthday.  Owww.  I'm 38 years old and never ever came up with such a brilliant idea for the perfect gift that does not require any cash out.

Boots also has this talent of mixing up lyrics that are just laugh-out-loud funny.

Hay hay magsayawan, e di Disudrin mundo (Tayo'y magsawayan, sumabay sa takbo ng tugtugan)
Sino ba to mukhang gambas, nagkandarapa sa pagkanta (Sino ba to mukhang gago ...)
Spinacana tomorrow (The sun will come out tomorrow) 
And my favorite:

Shine bright like a bekimon!  


He only recently gave up travelling with his beloved ancient, stinky, blue Hello Kitty pillow.  He still sucks his thumb, tho.

Me:  Why are you still thumb-sucking?  You're six!
Boots:  It's still my dignity!

It took a while for us to figure out that by 'dignity', he meant 'right'.  HAHAHA.  Another classic from Da Boots.

We celebrated my and his birthdays with the family at Kuse in Eton Centris.  It always has to be Filipino or Chinese cuisine for us.  Papa also likes Japanese food, but most others he calls phony.  I once heard him groaning to Ches that he doesn't get why Pinoys would want to eat, say, Vietnamese food in the Philippines.  Hahaha. Crazy.    

I'm glad Grace was able to join us this time.  She's usually tied up at work.  Mommy was in Tarlac, tho, and Daddy is back in the UK babysitting his other grandkids, so it was just my side of the family.

The boys wanted us to go to Centris so the girls can also try the bungee jump.  They did the zipline and gravity car in Zoocobia, after all.  Papa wouldn't let them, tho.  (So it was actually a good thing he didn't join us in Clark.  Hahaha.)  They're such girls.  The boys did their bungee jumps for the nth time, and we just took the girls to Chatime.  Lame.

Boots also had a celebration in Claret, of course.  I wouldn't even call it a party bcoz it was mainly just us providing their food at recess and the kids singing the birthday song and giving their gifts. No dancing or games unlike in Mayfield.  You also had to comply with this long list of requirements like no mascots, no plastic containers, bring all the trash home, etc.  You'd think you were preparing for a nationwide protest rally rather than recess for a bunch of pre-schoolers.  Groan.  But it was going to be Boots' last school party bcoz he'll already be in Grade 1 next year, so we went, anyway.  Whatever makes the birthday boy happy, right?

We gave Boots the choice of where we were having his birthday dinner.  All he wanted was bacon.  He LOVES bacon.  Sometimes I feel like he loves bacon more than even me, actually.  Hahaha.  We wanted to go somewhere special tho and not the usual like Ally's All-Day Breakfast.  So we settled on IHOP.  Ate wanted to take us to IHOP in Cape Cod, just to get a taste of it.  We didn't have the time for it, tho.  It was in the bottom of her to-try list bcoz it's a franchise.  She and Bryan hate franchises.  They're snooty like that. Hahaha.

So, in the US, IHOP is actually just like Jollibee here in that it's all over the place and it's cheap.  Here, tho, I think there are only two branches so far.  I heard there's always a long line at the BGC branch for breakfasts on weekends.  The price can easily go upwards of P500 per head too if you go for the whole works with refillable drinks and dessert.  But it should be worth it bcoz the servings are American size, and nearly everything on the menu comes with a stack of pancakes on which you can lather their extensive choice of syrups.  That was fun for the kids.  

It was also one of those restos that give you a song and dance if it happens to be your birthday.  So Boots got that, and a free bowl of ice cream, too.  All in all, it was a fun IHOP experience.  Just be prepared to spend a little bit more than you usually would in similar class restos.

Boots also wished for another rockeoke event like what we did at Redbox.  This time, tho, we tried Good Times at the Fort.  The ambience and service were better than Redbox, the food similarly so-so, but the song list is kind of outdated.  We were looking for Titanium, Just Give Me A Reason, Wrecking Ball, and other newer songs, and they were nowhere.  They didn't even have A Thousand Years which is already over a year old.  Duh.   

The boys still had fun, tho, singing their favorites from the Nickelodeon stars and MTVs, Apo, Eraserheads, and now Parokya ni Edgar, too.  I like to sing as much as the next guy but I have no delusions that I can sing and do not get a kick out of videokes like some pretend singers do - but if videoke bars make my boys screaming happy like this, why should I deprive them?

We were teasing Yoshi bcoz he was so serious as usual.  He does have a good, strong voice, but he has all the singer mannerisms as well, like closing his eyes, turning his face a certain way, all that drama.  Hahaha. He of course prefers cooking classes for next summer, but I think on top of that we're also going to enroll him in voice lessons.  I told Ches Yoshi's singing could finally be Our Ticket To The Big Bucks.  Hahaha.    

I'm wearing my birthday gifts from Ches:
a Mango shirt that says'Fashion Maniac'
... and Sanrio DMs.  Waaahhh!
Now I can die in peace. 

Happy sixth birthday, Bootsie!  We love you more than the world.