Wednesday, September 27, 2006

most memorable stories and characters

Late this afternoon, on a quick deliberate break from whatever I was doing, it came across my mind sheaf of stories and characters which had a passionate impact on me- emotional, comic, historical, poignant, in the past and over the years. I wanna share a few of most unforgettable, remarkable stories and characters I’ve encountered, though not personally, but emotionally.

The Scarlet Ibis. "The Scarlet Ibis" is a short story written by novelist James Hurst. It was first published in The Atlantic Monthly in July 1960. I guess you have to read the story for yourself, to experience what I believe is the true grit, pride and glory of the human spirit. It’s emotional, nothing fancy. Not the buckets of tears stuff, though. It cuts through your heart.

Tintin & Snowy. My favorite reporter and his fox terrier, and “world travelers”. This comic book duo piqued my interest in history and geography. Lots of insanely funny characters which will perpetually amuse anybody. Click
here to meet the Tintin and Adventures coterie.

If Tomorrow Comes. A 1985 novel of Sidney Sheldon. The main character, Tracy- strong, resilient, cunning, was my personal hero, (I guess). Not that I wanna be a con-artist :) But the character was so clever and definitely NOT the 'helpless' kind. This story got me hooked to more Sheldon novels.

Veronica Lodge. Ronnie and her Archie-kins, Betty, Jughead and the whole gang are funny, funny, funny. These are the staple read of my pubescent years! These are classic characters. I will always cherish those Archie years.Veronica, sometimes good-hearted, sometimes spoiled and vain, and always lovable.

Steel Magnolias. I looove, looove, looove this movie. It's endearing, honest and liberating. This will always be one of my favorite movies of all time.

Love. The version of this song that I heard is by Kenny Loggins. And I used to listen to it before I go to sleep many, many years ago. I guess the original version was sung by the Beatles. I just find the words empowering, unbinding. Yet it's so simple.
Love is real,
real is love
Love is feeling,
feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved.
Love is touch,
touch is love
Love is reaching,
reaching love
Love is asking to be loved
Love is you
You and me
Love is knowing
You can be
Love is free,
free is love
Love is living,
living love
Love is needing to be loved.
Love is wanting
To be free
Love is knowing
You will be.

James Lovell. Jim Lovell, on the Apollo 11 article on the National Geographic. It was so fascinating and I read that article over and over and over again. He was played by Tom Hanks on the movie Apollo 13. But the first time I read about him was about the Apollo 11, and I think he's remarkable.

JFK, JBK, JFK Jr. I had been constantly asked about my fascination with them. And I don't know how to explain it. It's just that they're very interesting. Remarkable accomplishments? Maybe not the noble and saintly kinds like that of Mother Theresa's or Gandhi's. But I guess they have strong personalities, they are different, and they have flaws which make them a lot human. And I believe they weren't swayed by any opinions and they never gave it to common precepts of the people about them, which I believe is a remarkable spirit.

remarkable. My favorite, gilt-edged word for today. :)

....And of course, Cosette and Dexter. Cosette, from Les Misérables and Dexter, the stumpy carrot-top on Dexter's Laboratory, are my favorite little girl and little boy. They're adorable. Enough said. I love them heaps. The girl makes me cry, and the boy makes me laugh. They make life so much brighter.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

here's my 'worst' list

worst color for a shoe: neon green
worst food taste ever:
condensed-milk sweet spaghetti sauce
worst situation to be in: finding out you have no cash to pay the cab
worst hair smell: geriatric pomade smell
worst TV show: VH1’s Flavor of Love
worst dress mishap: finding out your dress is see-through and there’s no slip to be found
worst travel companion: one who has no inkling about the history of the place and is only
after shopping
worst conversation: with someone who’s too slow and dense to get any of your point
worst remark a girl can get: you got fat!/you’re too thin!
worst gift: comb-and-face towel set
worst habit: worshiping oneself
worst 2pm activity: being stuck in a long, tiring (boring) meeting and you feel like sneezing
worst flower a girl can get: fake felt roses
worst ice cream flavor: obviously fake macapuno flavor
worst picture: quintessential Pinoy wedding photo where the groom trying to shove a piece of
cake to a wide open-mouthed bride
worst fruit: tisa
worst vegetable: saluyot (jute leaves)
worst movie, so far: Date Movie
worst smell in an office lunchroom: stinky fish in the microwave
worst bridesmaid dress: drab, old rose princess-cut cocktail dress, with high neckline and pouf sleeve, with matching plastic flowers on your hair

What's your list of "worsts"? :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

poor sick souls

The past five days were dreadful for us. On Wednesday, the hubby got sick. He might have caught strep throat. Our remedy was Tylenol, lozenges and chamomile tea- lots of it. And like an old grandmother, I fed him porridge. And kept the tea flowing. Poor baby. Once he asked if he could have orange juice, I said no. And once, it’s so funny, because I caught him with a snowball in hand. I was aghast, I ordered him to get rid of it pronto. The dessicated coconut-marshmallow-chocolate-covered thingamabob was off-limits, definitely.

I kept him company, he was in bed most of the time. And at moments when he’s feeling a little better, sat with him on the sofa while he watched TV or trying to ‘work from home’. Friday night, we had Chinese takeout dinner- schezuan shrimp, roast beef lo mein, lemon chicken, wonton soup. A feast for the poor, sick soul.

By Friday night, hubby was feeling better, however, I started getting sick myself. My throat started to feel scratchy, it was difficult to swallow, and was temples were throbbing. I guess hubby passed the virus on to me.

So that’s how we spent the first day of Fall- holed up at home getting sickie. Poor us. Instead of gallivanting under the glorious Fall weekend weather, there we were coughing and sneezing, and nursing our headaches. In between, I managed to finish yet another book about JBK. At times we turn the TV off, and we walk barefoot around the quiet house. Sometimes, it’s actually comforting be in that muted environment. When all we can hear is each other’s breathing. (In our case, coughing and puffing included).

Sunday, we heard Mass albeit my agonizing headache. It was no help that lots of kids were crawling around shrieking, stomping, running around. We decided to have Phở for lunch to tend to our congested sinuses and itchy throats. But it was bad Phở that we got. Hubby vowed never to come back to that restaurant.

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon and Sunday night for us. We slept late, as usual. And this morning, we felt somewhat better and went back to work. When we stepped out, it was cold. Not freezing cold, but chilly. It felt like we missed the seasons. It’s Fall, all right. We can certainly hope it’s just a change of the season thingy. And we’ll bounce back and be meanderers, once again. Hello, Fall!

Monday, September 18, 2006

stalker for the day

Off we went to DC last Saturday afternoon to engage in some last summer weekend whirl. I wanted to be a stalker that day. I wanted to stalk Jackie O.

I wanted to find her place in Georgetown, the house where she stayed in after she left the White House. She resided in two houses after she moved out of the White House- first, in a house lent to her by their family friend, and second, a place of her own. I had also wanted to see the house they lived in after they got married and while JFK was still a senator. All their homes were in Georgetown.

I was so excited to be a tourist du jour. Never mind l (surely) looked like a gaudy fan. It will all be in the spirit of fun (and wonderment). However, I did not do my homework. I was too confident I memorized all three different house numbers, and I insisted I knew which is which. However, by the time we got to N Street the numbers were all mixed up.

The narrow, potholed N Street in Georgetown was nevertheless charming, with all the lovely age-old brick townhouses and cobblestone sidewalks. It looked shrouded with all the old trees. It's a lovely part of Georgetown. I gasped when we saw the house with the number I thought was the one. Turned out to be not, because we were parked on the wrong street! And the house across I thought was the one she bought and moved into. We took pictures of the wrong houses!

We walked into the other street (the right one by this time). And again, I got preoccupied with the wrong house across the street, and all the while the house behind us was the right address. No wonder I couldn't believe the gated wrong house appeared so contrastingly from what I gathered. And I peeked less into the right 3-story house where she lived until she moved to NY. What a buffoon of me. If only I had listened to David, he told me to bring the Jackie O book I'm reading then I could double-check the correct house numbers. And he wanted me to have my picture taken in front of the house, holding the book and pointing at the house. I'd die before I'd do that!!!

Had we walked a few more houses up the street, then we'd be staring at the Harriman house, where she moved into right after moving out at the White House. Then had we walked .3 miles further up the street, we'd be at their first Georgetown house. Oh well, I guess I'd have to polish more my stalking skills. Lesson learned? Jot down house numbers just in case I forget. I still want to go back there and see, and perhaps linger more (I hope no one notices this huge unabashed Jackie O fan).

Before our stalking trip, we visited the National Geographic Society to look at the photo exhibit by Reza. There was also a photo exhibit about soccer. It was a lovely last summer afternoon. I'm gonna miss summer...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Things that get my goat

There are some things in life which sometimes, for unexplainable reasons, annoy us to the highest heavens. I have (quite) a long list:

1. Fergie singing the dumbest song I ever heard, My Humps (or whatever)
2. people saying they’re gonna show up, and won’t
3. clumsy people stepping on my toes
4. the whole Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt hoo-ha
5. broken promises
6. Vina Morales (hahaha!)
7. kids trying so hard to act grown up
8. grimy men making lewd catcalls to passing women
9. people who constantly peer at their cellphones while in the movie theater

10. people who blatantly stare
11. Jinggoy Estrada (icky, icky, icky)
12. paper cuts
13. bird-brained, crazed drivers
14. people who cuss too much
15. people who seem to subsist on nothing but tacky, smutty jokes
16. accidentally stepping into a puddle
17. static electricity
18. being stalled in traffic
19. people with better-than-thou attitude
20. Paris Hilton
21. people who make harsh, inconsiderate remarks, and can’t handle it if bestowed with
the same harsh, inconsiderate remarks
22. brownouts
23. people who write incoherent messages and expect you to comprehend it
24. bad, unintelligible handwriting
25. people calling in the dead of the night wanting to be phone-pals
26. artistas singing so embarrassingly off key on TV variety shows

27. people getting too close (even if you don’t know them), violating personal space
28. solicitations

…and the list goes on and on. Tell me what your pet peeves are. Inane things which somehow always manage to get our goat :) Let's share our thoughts!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

it's a soggy day

It’s a cold, soggy, dreary September day. I hate the rain and I’m going to be stuck with it until, at least, early next week. I’m not yet ready to set aside my strappy sandals. My hubby wondered why I chose not to slip in reliable pair of boots. I guess I’m still in denial. I loved the summer sun and heat so much, the thought of covering up and piling up clothes is, I guess, agonizing.

Fall starts in a week. And it’s not amusing at all that it has been raining and dark and dismal the past few days. I’ve been wearing sweaters and jackets already, but still- my feet are bare (in my sandals still!). Last Monday, a chilly, blustery day, I had my light jacket on, however, much to my hubby’s dismay, I was wearing a mini-skirt. I didn’t care much that my toes turned gray. What a ninny.

Anyway, it has been one awesome summer. We were able to do the things that we wanted to do. We went to a charity polo match, the Peruvian festival, Alexandria's 254th anniversary, and the highlight- a trip to the Outerbanks in North Carolina. Plus of course the little weekend trips and excursions. The one thing we failed to do? Scour flea markets. I wonder why we didn't have time to do it this summer.

One thing I'm gonna miss- long days. I just loved it so much, the thought of darkness at 5pm makes my heart wail. But it's okay, I'm also excited to see the fall foliage. It's lovely and I couldn't get enough of it. I'll get myself ready for the cold season. It won't be that bad. Maybe more exciting things will happen, and it will brighten up the long shivery months ahead...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

anecdotes, memories and celebrations

There are a few precious things I feel like celebrating today.

First, it's the one-year anniversary of my caffeine-free by choice existence. Yup, it's been one year since I willfully ended my love affair with coffee. It was a fuss-free breakup ;) No weeping, no mourning, no regrets. And like any other split up- I've grown up after that. No more silly dependency. I was free, and happier. Hurrah for that!

Second, I was in touch again with my elementary school friends- Iva and Hope. Thanks to my bestfriend Roselle who was so savvy in finding them. I was so excited when she told me two nights ago that Hope was online. It was almost ten years since I last saw Hope, and Iva, longer. But we've exchanged emails now and I couldn't be happier to be connected again with these old friends.

Many funny anecdotes and memories roll in. Me, Roselle, Iva and Hope were classmates since grade 2. Our teacher then was Miss Torres, a strict, conservative old maid who decided to let a boy and a girl share a desk, in a futile attempt to shush us all. She got tired of our constant chattering and monkeyshines. But it never worked because soon, our seatmates became our chatter buddies. Our class was a talkative, noisy bunch. We were known of that memorable trait- we prattled and cackled and twittered 'til 6th grade.

Our third grade teacher was Mrs. Barcenilla who preferred to let her pupils write her lessons on the board, and was too obsessed in keeping the red floor waxed and polished at ALL times. Then came 4th grade with Miss Singson, an old maid with a pushy, strong willed attitude to compensate for her whispery voice- she expected her class to have perfect written compositions, perfect recitations, perfect test scores. We were also forever memorizing poems and practicing dramatic dialogues to present in our frequent class programs. But she also let us do things that we love to do- cut colored papers and make colorful arts projects which she proudly displayed in one corner, plant seeds in a mini-garden, write and exchange letters with our classmates, write and act in little plays, read books to each other. She encouraged us all to be creative, and by far, she was my favorite elementary school teacher.

Our 5th grade teacher (whose name escapes me at this moment) liked to start the day chastising us all for failing to keep the classroom, (in her favorite words), spic and span. And she liked to add her other favorite words- "it's very shameful!" We were her last class, she retired after that school-year so she must remember us all, the class who can't keep the room spic-and-span. Our 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Pedregosa, just spent 3-4 months with us. The rest of the school-year, she was on leave. We heard that she had enough of our boisterousness ;)

Meeting Iva and Hope again makes me think about how young we were then, so carefree, so happy, so hopeful and eager to grow up. Now we're in a different stage of our life, and yet those memories and delightful anecdotes still soar. And the opportunity to relish those cherished memories is one reason to celebrate.

Another thing to celebrate is books. It's a little thing, but I wanna drink to that. It's been a long time since I found time to read again. It feels good to be able to get myself lost in words, engross myself in stories and just flip over the comfort of reading. One of the things I could never live without or give up, it's reading.

I love to celebrate these little things in my own special way. There's no use keeping tab of mishaps, gripes and misfortunes in this world. Friends, good relationships, love, simple pleasures, hobbies, husbands, new recipes- they're always worth a warm hurrah!

Friday, September 08, 2006

if it's Friday, we're having fun

If I were a shoe,
I’d be a Jimmy Choo glitter karung slide.
If I were a dress,
I’d be a Carolina Herrera frock.
If I were a song,
I’d be Tomorrow.
If I were an ice cream,
I’d be a green tea ice cream.
If I were a scent,
I’d be black raspberry and vanilla.
If I were a breakfast,
I’d be toast with butter, scrambled eggs and a steaming mug of cocoa.
If I were a season,
I’d be Fall.
If I were a junk food,
I’d be pepperoni pizza with garlic-butter sauce.
If I were an herb,
I’d be oregano.
If I were an earring,
I’d be a black Tahitian pearl earring.
If I were a scenery,
I’d be Shenandoah Skyline Drive in late Fall.
If I were a drink,
I’d be a frozen margarita.
If I were an outrageous other name,
I’d be Jassmyn Tamara Antoinette.
If I were a plant,
I’d be a fern.
If I were a daydream,
I’d be a sojourn in a weekend home with an immense flower garden and full library; a penthouse in the city with a spacious living room and a more spacious fully-equipped kitchen; and a 10-4, three-times-a-week-with-a-wickedly-high-paying job.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

something's amiss

Suddenly...... it hit me. It's the 6th of September and still, I haven't heard a single Christmas carol in the air yet. Something's amiss in my precious Christmas rituals!

I'm kinda looking forward to hearing my first Christmas carol on the first day of the ber months. Back home, Christmas starts in September. Carols are played on air the instant it's September, and by Christmas eve you're quite immune to the scads of versions of one single Christmas carol. Believe me, Silent Night Holy Night can be enjoyed as original, OPM, rap, chant, chorale, whatever you like. And carols won't fade away until Three Kings'. Now that, IS one truly merry Christmas.

I'm feeling nostalgic. I used to anticipate what carol will I hear first for that season. I remember, the other year it was Give Love on Christmas Day. The year before that it was Pasko Na Sinta Ko (which is always truly, truly a romantic Christmas carol). I love the feeling of hearing those carols. It builds up the excitement for the much-anticipated Christmas season. As the ber months wear on, carols become more and more meaningful, amidst the giant Christmas trees, homes afire with christmas lights, humble and elaborate parols hung side by side, the palpable Pinoy Christmas spirit.

I may not hear my first Christmas carol until after Thanksgiving. Which makes me miss home a bit much. I always think about while it's so quiet and uneventful here, back home the revelry has started - blinking lights wherever you go, colorful lanterns, mountains of ornaments in every shape and sizes, carols blaring until your ears bleed.

It's our third Christmas as married couple. They say, third time's the charm. I hope we could have more fun this year. I wanna have a tree, I wanna hang a wreath on our door (I am not sure how our non-Christian neighbors would react), I wanna have Santa's cardboard face and a Merry Christmas buntings on the walls (maybe not, hahaha)! Last year, we had a quiet Christmas. We attended midnight Mass, and there was nothing special to it. We missed the embellished and more heartfelt Christmas masses at home. The church didn't even have a belen!

I'm still excited to hear my first carol this year. Although, anxiety adds up because it feels like I've already missed a lot of the ber months without the carols. Until then, I could only hope that it's gonna be something special, God forbid, not a boyband version of a classic Christmas carol.........

Friday, September 01, 2006

life is one LARGE pizza

Nothing beats ordering pizza on a night when a million things invade your thoughts and somehow you've run out of ideas what to sauté, scald and scorch next for dinner. So we got this laaarge pizza with laaarger attitude- garnished with Sicilian meats- pepperoni, Italian sausage and spicy salami. As Homer would say: ahhhaahaahh..... pizzzzaaa....!

I guess it's Ernesto causing a slight spiky commotion in the air last night. Uneasiness, a wrinkle of tizzy hang like a snippet of bad spirit. I guess humans, too, feel the raw peril of an incoming storm. We attended our building's open Board meeting, which was idiotically held in the nearby elementary school gymnasium for reasons only the butterball acting like a moronic impatient teenager member of the Board knew. She insisted it was noisy to have the Board meeting in the lobby or the party room. As if the residents come tumbling and crowing each moment down the lobby.

The members of the Board acted so dispassionately, so imperceptively towards each item on their agenda. They couldn't wait to move the motion to be discussed "on the next meeting". Why serve the Board when you cannot commit to dissertate all issues??! In my opinion, it was the height of hypocrisy and idiocy that was displayed last night.

My head felt like bursting. Bursting with ire and dismay. Can I blame it to Ernesto?

The bad air hovered for a while, creeping sorely past midnight. There was always that dull ache that you feel. But a warm back against mine, a hand to hold, a slight murmur from the one I love calms and sends me off to sleep.

Outshining the horrendous rain and wind Ernesto brought are - books to read, pictures of Trevor and Katie to look at, warm blankets, piles of magazines to read, a crossword to puzzle out tonight, and of course- à la Homer Simpson drooling-worthy large pizza.... The nasty storm still can't wipe out smiles and warm hearts. I'm glad.

another recipe from a (mad)housewife

My newest recipe!!!

You need:

beef brisket, cut 1-inch thin slices (around 1 cup)
2 tbsp rice wine

1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
dash of pepper and garlic powder

half a can diced tomato (garlic and olive oil-seasoned)
½ cup julienned green and orange (or red) bell pepper
chopped onions
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce, mixed with ½ tsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp chopped ginger

How to make it:

Marinate beef brisket in rice wine, soy sauce, vinegar with dash of pepper and garlic powder for around 30 minutes.

In a small round pan, sauté ginger and onions in 1 tbsp vegetable oil.
Add diced tomato with little of its juices.
Add and press bell peppers on to the mixture, avoid stirring it vigorously.
Add the soy sauce mixture.
Let it cook until juices are seeped up and it starts a light fizz.
Set aside the mixture.
Stir fry the marinated brisket in 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil including the marinade in medium fire for around 5 minutes.
Place the stir-fry brisket in a platter, then top with the tomato/bell pepper mixture.
Enjoy with freshly-cooked white rice.

Yum. Yum. Yum.