Tuesday, August 29, 2006

life is one HUGE problem

Life is barraged with problems. As others would put it- life is laced with untold challenges. These whole slew of challenges, as we are constantly cajoled, make us stable and sagacious. And after defeating each challenge in life, we grow stronger and shaped up, thus making us personally triumphant.

The two kinds of problems which stir us up the most are: the unexpected and the anticipated. But I think it's all in matter of perspective. Life's problems are handled otherwise in various levels in life. As we grow older, it becomes more complicated. I remember my biggest distress in high school was the missing Beadle notebook. I had been the class beadle all my high school life. And at the end of each grading period (quarter), the beadle notebook was always missing. Therefore making me a nervous wreck- our advisers refused to sign my clearance sheet, coupled with their chastising why I can't seem to keep a watchful eye on the notebook. I suffered too many sleepless nights and upset stomach, plus a guilt-ridden feelings of hopelessness because of it.

Thinking and looking back at it now, I can only think how easy life was when I was younger. My biggest problem that time was incomparable to the real tests in life I have experienced. If only life's challenge was only about beadle notebooks, no? We might just be dancing our way in glee into the garden of Eden. But then again, life is not a marshmallow-showered dream.

When I heard my boss early this afternoon spew out dreadful words - numbers, along with her calculations, percentages, variances and what-nots to me in front of her whiteboard, I knew I had the biggest problem. I feel like falling into a snake pit. One of the things I despise the most- numbers, and I am being shoved right smack into it. I don't know the feeling of literally and physically being kicked into a pile of an unmentionable dirt, but I feel just like that. Now that- is a huge problem.

Life is composed of little and big problems. I have lots of them. Heaps. Oodles. Barrels of obstacles. But I try, oh-God how I try so hard to look the other way.

When I pore over these kinds of difficulty, heartache, dilemma I just think about other problems out there. Because other people have more ghastly, despondent problems than me. And I'm not in cat's pajamas to complain, and I am not egged on to give up. Sometimes, other people have no advantage to make a choice, whereas, I have. I look through things that way.

Life is hard. But life is NOT all about problems. Life is much more- discovery, learning, articulation, experiencing, connection with others, joys, love..... Problems are just like an itch here and there, a bump here and there, or maybe an occasional sprinkle of pain, but never the end, sum and substance of everything.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

signs I'm getting old

* i think noisy teenagers are a big abomination
* i start counting sugar and sodium content in every package
* cholesterol and osteoporosis has suddenly become really scary
* i'm not amused by what I see inside Teen Vogue anymore
* i start getting nostalgic when I see movies that I've seen back in college
* the songs and bands I like are sikat way back in 1996
* the last teen-oriented show I've watched on TV was Dawson's Creek
* i don't know what's on Top 40 anymore
* i can live without MTV (I thought I can watch it FOREVER)
* all-day malling is not too appealing anymore
* i start watching what I eat
* driving fast scares the bat out of me
* i thought I could stay up as late as 3 a.m. but- I can't
* i get backaches every now and then

At least, I'm still asked for my ID when I order margarita ;)

here's a funny one:


I shall wear a diamond collar and leave my footprints on white couches.
I shall drink my cream with a touch of brandy and spit out my vitamins.
I shall sit on the laps of dog people just to irritate them.
I shall nap on top of the neighbor's petunias and perch on top of birdbaths and grow charmingly chubby.
But for now I must tolerate the dog and use my litter box and not sharpen my claws on the sofa, so no one can doubt the truth that cats are superior to dogs.
But every once in a while I wonder if I should be naughty now and then and nip a few toes, so my humans won't be too shocked when suddenly I become an old cat and start to wear a diamond collar.

Monday, August 21, 2006

one last summer fling

We headed for the beach last Saturday. It was a long, kind of uneventful three-hours drive to Ocean City in MD. It was a bright, sunny day and sans Latino people wearing shorts and T-shirt shrieking in the waves, it was a perfect day at the beach- one last summer fling before it gets colder and we start piling up clothes.

Our friend Darko's mother who came from Bosnia, who told us people in their country wear just the bikini bottom or nothing else (young and old alike) on the beach, was still dumbfounded why people bathe in the beach with so much clothing. We told her common folks back home also swim with pants and shirts on (hehehe). Anyway, the part of the beach we were in was particularly unsightly with the fully-clothed gente (I guess somebody heard from somebody that the whole raza was heading to the beach that day), and we saw one big family having a tailgate party at the parking lot complete with beach umbrella pa ha- and they were right next to the beach! I just thought what an idiotic idea it was camping out right beside their car in the sizzling hot parking lot and the beach was five steps away.

Anyway, it was my second time in OC. Last year (the date was Aug.23 I still could remember) Darko's nephew Stefan was still afraid to get his feet on the sand. But this year, he was playing and crawling on the sand. But he is still afraid with the water. Maybe next year, there will be progress ;) I packed ham and egg sandwiches for us, however, Darko's mother insisted we eat their quintessential Bosnian beach outing fare- Bosnian bread as big as David's fist, with chicken pâte, Laughing Cow cheese (hehee), homemade paprika and some kind of meatloaf. The paprika is good I loved it. Back home it would have been sinuglaw and isda, plus saging.

It was so filling that we left our baon untouched. We bought puto from the Filipino store the day before to show it to Janet's parents to make them laugh (because puto is something very bad in Spanish, haha), but they weren't able to come with us. There were carnival rides and games right next to the beach, and David wanted so much to ride the sling shot. However, it was rather expensive ($20 per rider) for just a 5-minute shot up in the air. However, he and Darko rode the roller coaster (it was cheaper, only $3.20 for a 5-minute ride, hahaha). I didn't dare try those rides at all!

The water was a little cold and the waves were mean! They're huge and really strong it knocked me out twice and left me scrambling in the sand like a discarded rag doll. What a sight I must have been. David was laughing at me I was certain I looked daffy. Fortunately no bikini top or bottom were untangled during that shuffle.

On our way home we dropped by a dinner buffet at this Chinese restaurant. They had a huge number of food selection. I heard one diner exclaim to another, they even have pizza! And much to my delight, they had sushi! And it wasn't bad at all! We were laughing at Darko because he complained he felt sick- he ate ice cream after he ate steamed mussels. :) It was good food, however, it was insanely expensive. Lesson we learned that day? Never go to a dinner buffet ever again. Only lunch buffets from now on ;)

Before heading home, they played mini-golf. The air was cool and it was one of those relaxing early evenings. It was actually fun and we had a good time. I could say it was one great outing. And then the next day, as if the strenuous beach trip wasn't enough, we met a friend to play tennis. Well, he "tried" to play tennis with us. I was only chasing after the ball the whole time. We played until it drizzled. What a great day.

The days are getting shorter and it won't be long until it gets nippy. David was so determined to exercise that he bought a pair of tennis rackets so that we can play. He made me promise to get serious into playing. I gave him my promise. We'll play on Sunday afternoons, and if the mood (my mood) permits- on Wednesday afternoon after work, too. It could be fun. We have three or four months to play until it becomes too cold. Our last summer fling! And then we could find another 'sport' to do. Maybe we'll get the scrabble set we've been planning to have, hehee.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I tried going barefoot at work this afternoon. I've tried it a couple of times before, and I found it, after an initial outrage, liberating. After traipsing for hours on end in my strappy, high-heeled footwear, I took the inevitable and walk around my turf barefoot. I felt free, heedful, cozy.

To feel the coarse texture of the carpet is surprisingly relaxing. It's massaging my bare feet. And if I allow myself not to be distracted by the fact that a number of shoes are also roving on the same floor, it could be really invigorating. But I also have to remind myself that these floors are vacuumed each night, so it's not really as horrid as going barefoot on the concrete or tiled floors back in 'Pinas. Going barefoot reminded me of my mom bellowing if I try to "forget" slipping back into my slippers when I was a little girl. She would scare me that millions of germs would attack my feet and eat it all up.

And I'm sure mom was not phonying up with me. But I guess there's a kind of freedom that is just so tempting and urgent, like the way I am feeling at this moment. I was aghast when I saw a couple of girls here at work walking around the whole floor barefoot. Now I have discovered how great it is, I won't impugn this offbeat habit.

It's good once in a while, to walk around with little less chains, less encumbrance. It's good to feel the grainy, cold base. It's like letting loose, say what you have to say, do what you have to do. Have that luring moment to step around feeling the ground on your bare soles once, twice, several times! Make it a habit from once in a while to be free, to be connected to the ground we're walking on.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Saturday's "firsts"

Last Saturday was a day of "firsts". It was the first time David woke up ahead of me, and made sausage omelette for brunch. It was almost 11 am and I refused to get up from bed. He said he cooked because I was still sleepy. He's the sweetest, don't you think?

And there was a cool breeze blowing, too, last Saturday for the first time- after weeks of searing heat. It was a little cool for midsummer, truly a welcome respite! And it was also the first time that we visited our local library. After a year in this area and countless promises to go check out the library, we finally did it. The library was a short stroll away from our house - too near to drive, just enough for a casual walk. The day was perfect for an impromptu walk- placid light gusts, bright sunshine, quiet scenery past a park entrance, a doggie park and the most charming townhouses we admire.

At the library I found a book which delighted me so, and I am currently reading it. It's a suspense novel from Mary Higgins Clark. I read three of her novels years ago when I was still in school and there was nothing more pressing to do than bury my nose in a book, and it was such a regret I never had the chance to read more of her books. She is such an efficient story-teller, I should say. Her stories are simple, absorbing and straightforward. Although I would love to read books with abstruse plots from time to time, what I am looking for right now is something uncomplicated, a light read to squeeze in between my all but hectic schedule.

I had promised myself to read more books. The last one I tried to read prior to this one from Mary Higgins Clark, No Place Like Home, was Love in the Time of Cholera. After reading a quarter of the book, I just said to myself I can't continue to read it right now. I have to abandon it, albeit temporarily and save myself from an apparent heartache. However, I vow to finish reading it in the near future. I have to, and I would love to.

Have you any thoughts to share on Love in the Time of Cholera?

I'm halfway through with No Place Like Home and so I asked David to get me another book from the library when he went back there yesterday. I intend to finish the book I am currently reading by Tuesday night, and then the second book by weekend. Sounds like a case of biting off more than I could chew? Let's see.

After the library on Saturday, we went to the mall to look for shoes for David and use up the Gap gift card David had given me last month (an extra birthday present). For the first time- I did not find anything that I like! Unbelievable, right? I've always liked their tops and outerwear, but somehow I didn't find anything that caught my fancy that day. And I don't want to pick something just for the sake of picking something. David used to ask me what do I like? What am I looking for? And I always tell him, I'll know what I like when I see it. I guess me and my dresses are in a constant flair for love at first sight. So much like what happened to my black stretch skirt and garnet shirt I picked out in less than ten minutes the other week.

But we didn't leave empty-handed. David found a nice pair of khakis and a broken-in shirt with a very seductive price. And he bought me a sweater, too, which I won't be able to wear until fall anyway. Talk about thinking ahead :)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

my latest Tuesday dread

Every Tuesday afternoon at 2:30, I attend an hour and a half meeting with six other people at work. It's a case disposition meeting, since recently I was asked to join the committee. Ever since, I'm not an outstanding meeting attendee. I must confess, I feel bored and impatient right away. So attending this weekly meeting, aside from three other meetings I need to be at is really tedious for me.

However, I must say such meetings lay bare to you the different facets of individuality. Therefore, such is an avenue to know more other people. Knowing them means recognizing who's the crank, who's nuts and who's a creepo :) Just kiddin'. Meetings can show you who's Type A, who's Type B and who's in between.

My Tuesday troupe, like any other out there, is one typically oddball bunch. There's one boss who wrinkles her forehead, looking askance when somebody speaks. I suppose it's the huh-what-on-earth-is-your-point look. There's one who is perpetually forgetful, and there's the one who monopolizes the discussion. There's the harbinger, and a follower. And one who rarely speaks. I guess it's obvious which oddball is me :)

Right now I don't exactly enjoy these meetings as much as I want to. I guess I still haven't acclimatized graciously to the twists and joys of this inevasible thing called "meeting". Maybe someday I will.

It's good to bring a pad to doodle on while meetings are progressing. However, never ever come unprepared just in case the boss, or somebody from the oddballs throw you a question. Say your piece, and then keep quiet. And look out for brewing tension that may happen (sometimes, just sometimes).

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friendship Day

In celebration of Friendship Day (August 6th), I’d like to make an ode to my best-est girl friends, who were with me through zits, storms, gaps, the best and the worst, and yet remained tight and true all these years…… Hey Roselle, didn’t you write a poem about friendship (specifically about our high school clique) in a workshop you attended one summer before senior year? :)

To my favorite girls, cheers! You make the world a happier place.


My best bud for the longest time…. She’s as crazy, as easygoing and as curious as I am. We have the best time together, sharing a desk, inseparable all throughout elementary and high school, sharing the same interests, and having the same idea of “fun”. She never fails to write letters, sends postcards and keeps me updated all the time. Through good times and bad, she’s my best gal.

Lia, Bonna and Farrah

My constant companions and my bestfriends in college. They’re the best bunch. Coffee, tea, McDonald's, malling, never-ending conversations (mostly the same topic blabbed about over and over and over again), Lia's famous baked spaghetti and brownies, laughter, tears, daydreams, spats (minor and all sorts), highs and lows - we've shared them all. They're the people whom I always wanna see on good days, bad days, lazy days, perky days, special days, ordinary days, any days. They're my powerpuff girls :)

Faith, Mei, January, Karen and Fevi

One of the nicest bunch of girls in the whole world! They never 'excluded' the oldies (us) in their clique. They never forget us on their parties and get-togethers, and their kris kringle every Christmas. I love them! They're cheery, nice, sweet, and they're the kind whom you can never ever dislike. They're supportive and never judgmental.


The most good-humored, good-natured, zappy, zingy girl I know! She's always looking into the bright side of things. And her infectious laugh (and killer dimples) are inspiring. And one great friend, too. Loves her friends, warts and all, no matter what.


Jovial. Loyal. Kind. Smart. And very high-principled. And very lovable, too. She's the kind of girl who never digs up the past just to make fun of you. I always think of her as proper, sweet, reliable and beautiful inside out. She has great insights on relationships, too.


A delightful, talkative and funny girl! She never runs out of stories, funny anecdotes and quips, and she claims she knows ALL artistas old and new. She's a great shopping (and window-shopping) companion, too. On the four years that we've worked together, our office was in constant uproar because of her funny stories, silly antics and endless chattering. We spend 5 minutes eating our lunches so that we can catch up with our talkfest during lunchbreak. She's the nicest friend who always had the most meaningful advices to give.

Mom, and Bub

My great loves back home. My bestfriend, and the brat who never fails to make me smile. Love them heaps.

Happy Friendship Day!!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Our recent 3-day jaunt in the Outer Banks, North Carolina was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. It was not exactly the typical tourist summer pursuit - the beach (even though to stay in those pastel-colored, 3-story oceanfront beach homes was to die for), but our main purpose of chosing the Outer Banks was our lighthouse hunt.

The Outer Banks is a tiny stretch of islands on the northeastern coast of North Carolina. It was unconventional, picturesque and historic. Back in time, it was a pirates lair. And there are amazing lighthouses, and the Wright Brothers Memorial is also there. I liked the feel of the islands. It is tiny that past some stretches of highway, it is edged by sand and you can practically see water on both sides. And the whole place was dotted with huge, fantastic-looking beach homes.

Our first stop was the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, up in the northern tip of the Outer Banks. It was made of bricks, and we climbed all 214 steps to the top. We were sweating like pigs and our knees were wobbly by the time we got to the top. But the fantastic views were exceptional. The drive up there was scenic and heartwarming, past little towns with pretty names like Duck, Sanderling, and Southern Shores, and even prettier street names.

The Wright Brothers Memorial was located at the town called Kill Devil Hills. I found the name queer and amusing. According to David, the place was a lair for pirates before, and there on the hills (which were actually sand dunes), they drink moonshine (an illegally distilled whiskey) and apparently it was so strong it could kill the devil. :) What a lovely story, hehe. The Visitors Center cum museum was impressive. We visited the exact site of that fateful first flight on Dec. 17, 1903.

We visited four lighthouses, and climbed two of them. By far, my favorite was the Bodie Island Lighthouse. I liked it so much because it looked so forlorn. I always have this theatrical notion about lighthouses- forsaken, somber, distant. And the Bodie Island Lighthouse, especially on that gloomy day we visited, was exactly like that. But the prettiest was the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse- tallest in America. Its spiral stripes looked truly impressive. We also climbed the lighthouse, and we had the most spectacular view of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Atlantic Ocean. The fourth lighthouse we visited was the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse. It was located on a tiny, tiny island of Ocracoke (a 40-minute ferry ride further down south from Cape Hatteras, and so so tiny you can drive to the other end in a matter of minutes. They have only one highway, by the way). The lighthouse was only 75 feet tall, and we found her inacessible.

We found a lovely, lovely deserted beach near the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. David loved it so much, he said he could stay there forever. Until retirement? Nope, he said. Maybe a month. It was so quiet, peaceful and relaxing just gazing at the deep blue Atlantic ocean. We absolutely loved it.

We stayed in a small, inexpensive oceanfront motel in Kill Devil Hills. We call it "Psycho motel". It kinda reminded us of the Bates motel in the movie Psycho, hehee. But luckily, there was no psycho in the shower :)

It was an amazing three-day mini-vacation. We took a different route on the way back home, and made a quick stopover in Virginia Beach. Then we took the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which was alluring beyond words. David took tons of pictures on our vacation. He had an amazing time.

Here are his pictures: www.flickr.com/photos/dng
(click OBX)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

i miss coffee

For several occasions now, I am being tempted by the smell of the brewing coffee in the office dining hall. Well, tempted might be such a terrible word. I am being stirred-up - reminded, that is, of something that was so part of my whole being not so long ago.

I was a huge coffee-drinker before. Yup, was is the word. I used to drink gazillion cups of coffee until September 13, 2005. And then I quit. Since then, not a single drop of caffeine is in my sytem.

I was the kind of girl who couldn't possibly start the day without coffee. It has become my indispensable excuse of dallying all morning routines - not until I have my coffee. All my girl friends are huge coffee drinkers, too. A pot of coffee plus never-ending conversations are enough to make me and the girls cheerful and complacent.

Why did I quit? Mostly for health reasons. Apparently, years of coffee-drinking and foolish attachment to it are not intended for me. My hubby had been admonishing me for a long time to end the coffee subservience. But I continued to declare my undying loyalty to coffee, anyway. Until the doctor told me so.

I thought it was going to a difficult thing to do. Like stories I hear all about quitting smoking being the hardest thing to fulfill. So much like ending a paperback-worthy fiery love affair. But it turned out to be painless and uncomplicated, after all. I felt better, happier and unbelievably restored. My vital motivation was NOT to get sick. I hate being sick.

But the irresistible and tranquilizing aroma of coffee will always be one of my favorite scents. The smell of citrus, butter on toast, vanilla liqueur, freshly-brewed coffee are few of my favorite smells.

So everytime I smell coffee brewing here at work, or being greeted by its potent aroma upon entering a café - I will always be reminded of my love affair with coffee not too long ago. I miss coffee. But not too much, really. It was good while it lasted.