October 31, 2010

halloween fashion emergency

My husband came as a corpse, Chiquito-movies-style (hahaha). My nephew took an old cosplay outfit. 

As I didn't have time to prepare for the Halloween, I just decided to improvise and thought that with proper make-up and some black outfits (which I have a multitude of), I can just be a short-haired Morticia Adams or Bellatrix Lestrange.

But when the kids and I were sorting through their costumes, I dug up an old ladybug onesie which they used to wear as babies. As there is no chance that there will still be infants in the family, I had the hood cut to separate it from the neckline. The rest of the onesie was cut right smack in the middle to make for an instant vest. Voila! Instant Halloween costume. 

October 30, 2010

khaled hossein

Note: One, this is not a book review. Second, I extremely hate spoilers so I shall be considerate to the few people who read this blog by not revealing the plot and divulging highlights of the book, as most book reviews do. 

I first read "A Thousand Splendid Suns". It is a very, very beautiful book, but it brought me to depths of unimaginable sorrow. Twice or thrice, I wept for the characters in his book and when I finished the novel, I thought I should first heal myself from the anguish I felt by reading light or entertaining novels first (chick lit included) and even showbiz magazines.

Last week, feeling ready for another Hossein, I started reading "The Kite Runner" (his first novel, actually). It is not as heart-wrenching as "A Thousand Splendid Suns" but it is also a sad read.

Still and all, I am glad to have discovered another excellent writer and to have travelled through his words, the tumultuous world of his characters in Afghanistan. He has become one of my top favorite authors and I am so looking forward to his next novel.

For those who have not read any book by Khaled Hossein yet, I suggest you start with "Kite Runner" before you proceed with "A Thousand Splendid Suns". And oh, have a box of Kleenex handy.

October 27, 2010

tv supremacy

We were watching cartoons last weekend and as usual, my two girls, 7 and 6 years of age, fought over what show to watch. We told them they should take turns watching their favorite show and once we settle on a program, there should absolutely be no channel surfing anymore.

Then we noticed our eldest girl holding the remote control and bringing it along with her to the kitchen when she gets a drink, to her bedroom or the attic when she wants to get a particular book or toy, to the bathroom...

And so her Dad asked, "What good is it bringing the remote when you cannot even change the channel?" 

My daughter replied, "Uhm, I don't know..." and she looked up the ceiling, trying to make sense of this peculiar behavior. Then her face suddenly lit up and continued, ".......because it makes me feel in control?"

October 25, 2010

chocnut cheesecake

Our friends from Get Cre8ive, the company that processes our requests for Getty Images, sent a cake to our office one day. I think I was busy working on a pitch deck so I didn't join my officemates who feasted on it right away. I was oblivious at first to the howls of delight from the pantry (I don't like leaving a train of thought until I'm sure I have written it all down).

Until I heard the words....

"OMG!!!!! Saraaaaaaapppppppp......."

And just like that, I left my cube and dashed to the pantry, my ideas for the pitch deck abandoned and left floating in mid-air, to check on the cake that's causing this afternoon madness.

I got a small slice and upon the first bite, experienced a medley of salt and sweet melting, exploding simultaneously in my mouth. I am no foodie and therefore not very good at describing gastronomic sensations. All I could do upon tasting this heavenly concoction is to mutter under my breath with matching shake of the head....
"Ay, grabeeeeeeee......"

October 24, 2010

comings and goings

One thing I can say about airport scenes is that I only like arrivals, never departures.

Sometime July, my brother's family spent a good month's vacation here to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday. 

The kids, Ally and Gelli, grew up in Fremont, California, without knowing the rest of their family back in the Philippines, except for pictures and stories of their first vacation here when they were still in their toddler years.

When they got older, they went back, and instantly warmed up to the rest of their big clan, despite the difference in culture and the initially disorienting Pinoy-accented-English . The closeness amongst the American citizens and their Pinoy cousins were instantaneous, never forced and almost instinctive. Soon, even the kisses, hugs and other forms of affection became easy. The "oldies in the family" can only watch in amazement at the speed by which these kids strongly bonded and we thought, that's maybe how blood relatives naturally respond to each other, no matter how long they have been apart.

When it was time to leave for the US, the tears flowed at the airport. And us oldies, can only force a bitter smile, pained at the sight of the tenderness of young hearts feeling the sting of separation.

October 23, 2010


Waiting for the doctor with some senior citizens. 
I went back to Makati Med last Thursday to see the internist referred by my HMO. The doctor's clinic is from 10-12 so I went there as early as 930. "You're first on the list," I was told. Pleased at this news, I settled myself on the not-so-comfy chair, read my book and waited patiently for the time when the sliding tab finally declares that "The doctor is in."

I was so engrossed at the book I was reading ("The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hossein) that I didn't even realize it was already about an hour since I arrived.

Meanwhile, the corridor swelled with patients already and the latecomers suffered the fate of having to stand or squat or sit on the floor waiting. Shortly before 12 noon, the doctor came, and a few minutes after, I was finally summoned to his clinic. 

Fortunately, my blood tests showed ok results. But I left the hospital probably with another affliction. Hypertension.

October 20, 2010

images from typhoon juan

The government and PAGASA were correct this time around in their forecast. It wasn't a pleasant one but the people were at least better prepared compared to previous disasters. 

Us, Manila residents, initially cowered in fear, even if the storm will not even hit our area. Ironically, the hourly updates even before the storm landed slowly made us feel a bit better, as it gave the impression that the government and the residents have braced themselves well for it. Psychologically, we also primed ourselves for the passing of the great deluge.

And yet, when the news from the north came, it still blew us away.

I wish, for once, that the news have just been sensationalized.

It is quite disconcerting to see a gasoline station get toppled like this. 
Mighty trees not just crushed to the ground, but trampled on by the mightier Juan.

* Pictures taken from the Net.

October 15, 2010

los 33

Here you are, getting so annoyed already at momentary discomforts of everyday life....when thousands of miles away from here are 33 miners from Chile, whose indefatigable spirit allowed them to survive two months in a 2,300-ft-deep underground. 

Imagine how difficult the dynamics must be in such a big group living together in a small, stinky cave. Let us not even talk about the lack of food and the lack of air and sunshine which in itself, can already bring anyone down to depths of severe sorrow. Let us just talk about human nature, about how, in such circumstances, one can easily succumb to desperation, endless complaints and useless wailings. It would probably be normal to unleash stinging remarks to your co-workers because of all the discomforts, to infect everyone with your angst and misery. Or maybe the easiest would be to withdraw from the group as you get consumed with thoughts of hopelessness or even death.

But these brave Chileans remain steadfast as a group. They were able to organize themselves in a way that will put to shame many corporate organizations. I am amazed at the way they put order in their lives, organizing themselves in groups that alternately sleep and work. I marvel at these Chileans decision to always eat together, shunning the convenience of eating in batches for the symbolism of celebrating every meal as a group. 

As the rescue operations started (and what an awesome capsule!), we hear about how each of the miners wanted to be the last. We finally saw images of them in dark shades and big, bright smiles, with every single miner brandishing a spirit that is strong and unyielding and inspiring for the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, we see a lot of people here complaining non-stop at the slightest discomforts and momentary oppressions of everyday life (the heat, the traffic, the construction, blah blah blah). And you wonder if we really are as resilient as we thought ourselves to be. For now, I shall humbly give that word to the Chileans. Bravo, los mineros! Bravo, President Sebastian Pinera! Bravo, Chile!

* Pictures lifted from various Net images.

October 11, 2010


Photo of husband and his mini-me, Christmas 2009

The countdown to Christmas has started and Christmas carols are already being played in radio stations and in malls. Some people accept this with quiet resignation, some with resentment (commercializing a holy occasion, they say), while others welcome this with as much excitement as a 5-year old kid would.

Well, I belong to those who do not mind the Christmas air being floated around the moment the calendar hits the "-ber month". And why wouldn't I look forward to the holidays when it comes with this package?

  1. Nippy air.
  2. Parties, reunions, raffle prizes, gifts, shopping and other endorphin-inducing activities.
  3. Work gets slow until it halts completely by Christmas week. Clients usually take a leave after Christmas and us, Agency people, gladly follow suit.
  4. There's a solid energy of joy permeating the air. Everyone's generous not only with their time and money but also with loads of good behavior.

    So let me rest my weary head on my folded arms by the windowpane and dream of nippy night airs kissing my skin, of friends and strangers spreading Yule cheer, of abundance of grace, of long nights of slumber. Folks, it's only 74 days until Christmas.

    October 8, 2010


    From the looks of it, October is one naughty kid dragging all of us by our feet. It started Monday, when I felt an inexplicable sense of gloom at the office that was so strong I wasn't able to sleep well that night. Tuesday, the negative energy persisted. 

    Wednesday and Thursday became a bit better with the mood at the office slowly getting back to its original cheerio-state but by that time I was already feeling rather ill. 

    Elsewhere, I know a lot of people getting sick as well, getting visits from Voldemort and his dementors, getting too overwrought, etc. etc. What is it about this week, this month, that made people so angry or downtrodden or melodramatic? 

    Well, maybe I need not know the answer. All I know is I should lift this veil of sorrow and hurl it out the window. 

    Expecto Patronum!

    October 3, 2010

    doing nothing

    Well aside from my to-do list for my beloved home, Pugad, I have a separate to-do list for work, which is an endless stream of responsibilities it's making my head explode just thinking about it. 

    I do spend some valuable time lately on FB, Twitter, and Blogger (tinkering with the settings, reading other people's blogs, updating this blogspot, building two others and hoping to create another one). Then I read the news, my books, some magazines. I watch TV and DVDs from time to time. 

    In-between are conversations and playtime with kids. And in-between are emails, plans and strategies that creep into our Pugad-time. Quality talk time with husband has to be squeezed in during the day, sometimes with beer on the side.

    Lastly, and most importantly, is that time I absolutely need to survive my everyday flurry of activities, and this is the time I need to spend doing...nothing.

    to-do list

    1. Shop for shorts and new pants (because of my ever-expanding waistline). Check.
    2. Shop for new pants and tops for the kids (because of their fast-extending limbs). Check.
    3. Replace the coffee maker that conked out. Check.


    4. Fix closet and fold clothes in opening-hour-department-store-perfection. (I'm halfway-through on this one).
    5. Replace our bedroom blinds.
    6. Buy new night lamps for my li'l bookworms.
    7. Shop for new linens for the kids.
    8. Schedule a re-paint of the house (we've been planning for this for the past 2 years!).
    9. Have the piano repaired (I've never ever used it since I got it from my mom's house 3 or 4 years ago!).
    10. Sort clothes that need redesigning, Project Runway style - like the XL Beatle shirt of my brother which I turned into a fab shirt dress for myself (I had the neckline altered and the sleeves cut).
    11. Do cash flow report and 2-year forecast of income and household expenses with husband (call us prudent or call us geeks).
    12. Discard old toys and kiddie clothes.
    13. Discard old shoes.
    14. Commission somebody to build us a shoe cabinet.
    15. "Repair" the girls' bathroom mirror (I funkified an old mirror by glueing beads on the rim but most have fallen off already).
    16. Clean the books and the bookshelf (the only chore I do not ever delegate to anybody).
    17. Update Christmas gift list. 
    18. Buy goggles for my kids.

    Score: 3.5 out of 18 (the morale-boosting "point 5" in my score was driven by task #4. Gimme some credit for a closet fixed half-way through.)

    I have an ambitiously long list. 

    October 1, 2010

    finally, friday

    Today I traversed the whole stretch from the South where I live, to the North, and back.  Before that was a quick coffee and cig meet with an officemate at High Street, a lunch meet in Ortigas, then to far, faraway Mindanao Avenue.

    Going back to our office in Makati, we were assaulted by this image.

    Going back to the South at night was a repeat of the same scene, only with break lights on, but with the same distressing sight of crawling vehicles.

    And now I’m home. Drained and exhausted but thankful still, that tonight is a Friday night. My week thus begins.