Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thief in the house!

I almost became a victim of burglary last Sunday. Thank God the burglar’s plan didn’t succeed!

I slept overnight at my parent’s place last Saturday and went back home Sunday evening. After attending the church service in the morning, I had to do some pictorial for our news magazine cover in the afternoon. The intruder sensed that there was no one in the house so he planned the break-in Sunday afternoon. Or he probably noticed our big padlock, the size of a man’s fist, on our small red gate. I couldn’t really tell what it was that caught his attention to our house. It’s just a tiny and plain apartment adjacent to bigger apartments.

Maybe he just wanted to try his luck. But lady luck wasn’t on his side that afternoon. First, it was a bad idea to intrude during broad daylight where the neighbors can easily see him. Second, he didn’t know that the caretaker of the apartments has a key of our gate padlock and usually checks on our place because the water tank, which supplies all water for all adjacent 4 apartments, is located in our place, a few steps from our gate. Third, our neighbor, whom I don’t know personally, saw him jump over our short and small gate. The neighbor then called the attention of our caretaker, and when the caretaker opened our padlock, the burglar panicked and climbed the water tank and jump over a wall to escape. The neighbor recognized the face of the burglar, saying he was the same person who robbed another neighbor. But after this neighbor got back his belongings, he forgave the thief, he didn’t charge him anything which leaves the local cops no choice but to free the thief. Unfortunately, the notorious burglar didn’t learn his lesson and was out to victimize others. Thank God I wasn’t included in the burglar’s list of mission accomplished!

I really thank God for protection. He kept me away from harm. If I was in the house that afternoon, who knows what could have happened to me. (Or what I could do to that burglar! I could have shouted so loud that the decibel of my voice would be enough to chase him away, hehe.) Other neighbors have noticed already that I’m home alone whenever hubby leaves abroad for 2-3 months. And I also thank God for protecting our house. And I thank God for this experience, because He only showed me once again that His word, from the biblical times up to now, is still so true. That particular Sunday, our pastor mentioned in passing through his preaching that we must not be worrywarts when it comes to leaving our house so that we can attend the church, because when we trust God that even our homes are safe, harm won’t come to our doorstep, especially when we are out of our house to work for Him.

He also mentioned the scripture in Psalm 127 that “except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” In biblical times, house may refer to a building or family such as House of David, House of Abraham, etc. In this experience, I’d say this verse applies to me as well. I’d say this apartment was “established” by God for us. We chose to live this year in this southern part of Manila, though it’s far from my family and friends, because we decided that after I resigned from work, I’d like to serve God by being more active in the church and taking key roles, so we need a place that’s just a few minutes away from the church. We almost gave up our hunt for a nearby place that time because all decent-looking apartments were occupied within the vicinity. When we saw this place, we wanted it badly because it’s inexpensive and it looks well maintained by the landlords. But the caretaker then said it was being reserved for the landlord’s relative. But we prayed for the perfect place for us. The week after, we checked on apartments again and tried to convince the landlord’s secretary to give it to us by paying in advance, the landlord gave in. So here we are. At first, I thought it was bothersome that the water tank had to be located just outside our apartment but within our gate, because either us or the caretaker had to open and close the water tank at certain times of the day. Little did I know that because of this water tank, in a way, the burglar’s plan failed. And the Lord’s word succeeded! Thank you very much Jesus for keeping me and our house safe all the time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Strange stranger encounter

Have you ever experienced a total stranger paying for your meal in a restaurant or eatery? I just did last week. A friend in the church, whom I usually invite for a dinner treat after a prayer meeting, had her spiritual birthday last, last Tuesday. After the meeting, I want to treat her again. I have cooked Norwegian salmon at home already before I went to church but it’s just good for feeding one mouth only. That time, I have three mouths to feed – myself, hers, and my mom’s maid who just arrived at home because I borrowed her for a week from my mom to help me clean my house.

And then I realized, I only had 100 bucks and some loose change in my wallet. I left the rest of my cash at home and the nearest ATM from where we were standing that time was quite a walk. I told my friend that I only had 100 bucks and we would just eat at a cheap eatery or carinderia nearby and that she’d just have to add some more money if it’s not enough to feed the three of us. She said she didn’t have much cash too that time because she hadn’t withdrawn any cash from her ATM yet, she only had enough cash for commuting to her house. I wasn’t confident that my 100 bucks can feed the three of us because when hubby and I ate there, the bill was 100 bucks more or less. I have one more mouth to feed, not to mention that we’re all hungry that time, but even though we were worrying, off we went to the eatery.

We were looking at the viands and my friend opted for a veggie viand because it was cheaper, and decided she’ll just have service water instead of softdrinks or any soda. We had some good conversation, a few laughs, though it wasn’t a fancy place at all. After a few minutes, I decided to get the bill and pay. The waitress told us a man paid for our meals already. We didn’t believe her at first, but she insisted that someone paid for us already. My first reaction, that’s scary… My friend said, no, that’s blessing. When I learned that the man already left even before we can finish our meals, I relaxed. I don’t know exactly why I was scared at the thought of someone paying for our food, but I did. My friend was so intrigued by what had happened that she interviewed the waitresses and the cashier. The cashier told her maybe he liked your companion, that’s me. Yaiks, it’s one of those places where you really don’t need someone’s attention. Apparently, the one who paid for our meals is the manager of the whole place, their eatery, food kiosks nearby and the grill house at the upper floor. My friend told the cashier to tell the man, if he ever ask about us, that I’m already married. But I doubted that the man really paid for us because he got interested in me, it was just the opinion of the cashier. First, he didn’t approach us while we were eating, he didn’t bother to introduce himself. We didn’t even notice that he was also eating at the next table just like what the cashier said. My friend remembered that a guy was sitting at the next table but she can’t even remember his face. Second, he didn’t even wait for us to thank him, he just left; he didn’t even leave a message to the cashier in case we ask about him. In short, he didn’t want to really make himself known to us, so I figured, it was just really an act of generosity on his part, not a way to impress us.

When I told all of these to hubby, he was quite irked. He thinks the man still has an ulterior motive. He said I should have paid though the man paid for our meals already and should have requested the cashier to give back the money to him. I haven’t thought of that because I really don’t think the man was interested in me, or with my friend or with my mom’s 54-year-old maid, hehe. Hubby said maybe the man was hoping he could see us again in that eatery since he is the manager of the whole place and then when we see him, we would feel indebted. Honestly, if you ask me, I don’t feel indebted to the man, I just feel thankful, but more thankful to God for what had happened. I don’t know if that man overheard us when I said I hope our money’s enough, but my friend said my voice was lowered that time, and I know I did, because I didn’t want the waitresses to hear me, hehe, they might not serve us clean food if they learned a customer may not be able to pay later on, hehe. Whether he heard us or not, I consider it the work of God. I rarely bring just enough cash or just 100 bucks in my wallet, but this had to happen so God can show me once again, that He is a provider and that He works in ways, even in unexpected, mysterious ways, we cannot see.

Anyway, here’s my message to the man, a stranger we never knew existed:

If that was an act of sheer generosity on your part, thank you very much. I hope you told us so we could have ordered more, hehe, just kidding. Thank you because you allowed God to use you for our sake. Rest assured that He’ll give you more than the 100 bucks or more that you paid for us.

If you did it with ulterior motive, thank you but your strategy didn’t work on us! On me, on my friend or even with our 54-year-old hot helper, hehe! Try to do better next time, try to approach us, so you’ll know you don’t have to pay for someone who’s not interested. And we don’t credit anything to you at all, we credit everything to our Great Provider!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The day I loved my crying

If you know how to cry, you can get rich. Me and my elder sister thought so after seeing a child actress on TV getting famous and rich for shedding fake bucket of tears easily. That night, while lying on our beds in a shared room, we practiced crying. Sister said, “think of unhappy thoughts.” After several attempts, she had tears, I had dry eyes. And that's when I knew, I wasn't born to be a star, I can't cry.

Maybe, at 7 years old, I really can't think of horrible situations to make me cry. Or maybe as a child, I never cried. I didn't cry when my parents failed to pick me up from school and I was left alone in the hallway when I was 5. I didn't cry when I got lost in a supermarket. Nor sob when an angry cat bit my ankles furiously. Even when schoolmates teased me for my dream to be a model, I didn’t cry. No tears even if I didn’t get my favorite toy. I got scolded for not listening and was called dumb, yet, I didn't cry.

Ironically, I cried during teenage years. I cried when mother tore off the clothes that I was wearing so I can't go to a big birthday party all high school students were anticipating. When my parents and grandmothers were all shouting and fighting and they could not be stopped, I screamed then wept. When my elder sister pulled my hair and almost made my head bang on the sink, I cried. In college, when a big pro-administration organization literally thrashed the materials my classmates toiled for an exhibit that was getting popular in our school, and then realized as the president, I need to fight these goody-two-shoes bullies, I sobbed. In a confrontation with classmates, who got defeated in the elections and were planning to oust me even though I just got elected, I cried. When my parents asked if I got the editorial position I wanted in our school paper and told them I didn't because the adviser favored someone else with less talent but more charm, I cried.

In these instances, I cried because I was angry, sad, frustrated. I don't want just this kind of tears. If crying can't make me rich just like the young actress, I'd rather not cry. I want tears that really make me feel better. Crying that doesn’t only release bitterness but also happiness. I want to cry when I'm happy, or cry when I'm happy though the situation looks unhappy. How's that? That time, I didn't know yet.

Until I met someone who really made me cry, P_. Because he courted and chased me impressively, when I agreed to be his girlfriend, I thought I'd never cry for someone who wanted to please me badly. Besides, I vowed not to cry for a guy. Before I met him, I had a boyfriend and I didn’t shed tears even during lover’s quarrels. But on the first week of my relationship with P_, we fought and he said we could just split. For the first time, I cried because of a guy. For the first time, I didn’t know why I cried. Hurt ego? I can’t accept the fact that I was being dumped when I thought he’s so into me. Out of pride, I retorted, “sure why not? You chased me, I didn't, so it's your loss.” But inside, I wanted us to last. I wanted to slap myself for saying my piece with tears flowing on my cheeks.

More bickering followed. I can't remember the details because I automatically self-delete bad memories. What I’m sure is that, in all those fights, in all those years, I cried. One day, I got tired crying. My best friend, who returned home from abroad for a short vacation, just listened. I apologized for being a drama queen and not making her laugh. She let out a few sighs, a deep breath, then said, "you cry now because you learned to love."

Really? Did I cry because I want to be loved more? That’s pride. Or was it because I still love the man who made me cry? Maybe this is crying when you're happily unhappy. That’s crazy. I was hurt by our fights, but in my heart, I’ll be happy to stay in love. Crazy love.

I got crazier with my friend’s explanation, but I couldn’t deny it. When I learned to love without counting how much love I get in return, I cried. When I got more love than I wanted, I cried. When it was time to say goodbye to my not-so-perfect family and embrace a new strange world to me, I cried. I just cannot stop crying the moment I tied the knot with the man who first made me really cry.

Now, I see tears welling up on my eyes over scenes from movies or books. Or when I pray for someone I don’t personally know but feel his or her burden. And cry when hubby makes me feel so loved. I cry over situations I never thought I'd end up crying. And I don't mind now. I like these tears better, they are my so-called “happy tears.” They just flow easily, but they remind me I feel what it means to truly love and be loved.

Unhappy thoughts make you cry, but happy thoughts can sometimes make you cry even more, I now tell my sister. This crying doesn’t make me any richer like the actress. But it gave me a sense of power. Hubby told me that when I cry, his heart just melts though I hurt him too. He warned me not to use it constantly or it will lose its power. I won’t risk that, it makes me feel like a rich queen of a king who first taught me to really cry and still makes me cry.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Letting kids join beauty contests

Will I push my child to join beauty contests? I don’t have a child yet, but I’m already wondering about this. I have mixed feelings about this after seeing several kids in a beauty pageant I judged last Friday.

I am always dreaming of a beautiful or handsome child. When it comes to physical traits, I am hoping that my child will have my nose, my hubby’s lips, my big eyes but my hubby’s perfect 20/20 vision, my hubby’s plump cheeks but my facial contours, my complexion, etcetera etc. Dunno if all these can turn out good, if they’ll make a child that looks angelic and have a face that can launch a thousand ships.

But if I would have a child that looks like the next supermodel or big star, I’d probably have my child join a beauty contest. Talk about being a proud mom. It’s not just about being proud of my child’s killer good looks, it’s being proud that the child is mine. I noticed that beauty contests for kids don’t just boost the candidate or the child’s confidence; they also inflate the parent’s ego and pride. :p

What if my child doesn’t look really Hollywood material and would end up looking just a simple stunning child? Especially stunning on my eyes. I also noticed that most parents have this queer eye, or let’s just say immeasurable love for their child, that sometimes even though their child isn’t that good looking for others, they think and see otherwise. I may be guilty of this someday. Still, I would have my child join a beauty contest. The reasons? I want my child to experience being in front of everyone, being judged and yet knowing how to face people who judges him or her. I want my child to experience the joys and pains of winning and losing and/or both. I know my child can experience these even in other contests, like academic or sports competitions. But c’mon, there is just something about being judged in a beauty contest that shapes the child’s confidence tremendously as he or she grows up. Of course, all parents would tell children that inner beauty is much more important. But you know, in this world, outer beauty undeniably matters and is where you are judged first, judgment for your character comes later on.

Now that is the problem. I am not really sure if beauty contests can really make my child confident. What if my child experience losing more and winning less? I know someone who grew up joining such contests and when you talk to her, you’d sense that her confidence is kinda fake. She would joke that she looks like goddess (well she looks quite nice but not really goddess, hehe) but she is overrrly conscious about her face, hair, dress, smile, stand or posture comes picture time. Of course, everybody gets conscious in front a camera but it’s not as if everyone seriously feels like it’s always a pictorial for a magazine! And I noticed that her friends are too cautious not to hurt her feelings especially when it comes to her appearance. And she always need constant reassurance about her prettiness. Don’t you think that’s quite difficult to handle if you’re her friend? Oh well, thank goodness, we’re not close. Since her mother honed her to be Ms. Beautiful, I would presume she has had a lot of winnings than losings in beauty competitions. But look at the effect, she didn’t really turn out confident, she turned out to be an uber conscious woman to the point of making her own friends uncomfortable. I don’t want my child to end up like her.

In the competition I judged, I saw the attitude of the second runner-up winner. By her looks, I know she wasn’t satisfied, she wanted to have the crown not just some 2nd runner-up title. Honestly, it came as a surprise to me that she was the 2nd runner up winner, perhaps the other judges gave her a nice score. Anyway, she didn’t smile when her name was called, I didn’t see just even one smile after that, and she didn’t want to join in the picture taking with the other two winners. Perhaps, her parents had high expectations from her, and she failed them. But I saw her father so happy but his happiness isn’t enough to make her smile. So maybe she had high expectations of herself. I also don’t want my child to end up like her.

And then I saw this other girl in the competition. She didn’t win major awards for beauty. If I remember it correctly, she only won Ms. Congeniality. After the event, one of my co-judges said he likes this girl’s attitude. I agree, I noticed that her smile while modeling on stage is more genuine and after the results were announced, she was still giddy, bubbly and just her playful self. But I guess, we the judges, didn’t really give her a high score due to other criteria we considered. But her attitude is the kind of attitude I’d like my child to have. She smiles genuinely, on or off screen. By the way she answers in the question and answer portions and the way she walks on the stage, it’s obvious she knows it’s a serious contest. But I have this gut feeling, to her, it’s just a play, which should be the case, because she’s still a child. Most importantly, she lost but she knows how to carry herself.

The judges are all smiles...after 4 gruelling hours of sitting and measuring the looks, wits, and smiles of boys and girls who joined the beauty contest 

So should I let my child join beauty contests? Answer is still yes, but up to a certain point only. If the child says no, then I won’t force him or her. If I see that my child gets so conscious about her looks that she fails to see beyond it or give more importance to her character, then time to stop joining such contests. Until then, I would have my child join such contests…until he or she wins and loses. I want my child to rejoice and cry about what others see about him or her. And yet, my child knows how to stand up smiling and confident in both instances – no matter what others see or say about him or her.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The world of a housewife

I’m back to blogging. I now have time to do so because I’m home alone again, with nothing else to do. My hubby just left home yesterday, again for another seafaring assignment somewhere in Korea for two to three months.
I thought I could blog when hubby was here. But we found ourselves doing a lot of social activities the last two months, attending parties and all sorts of gatherings from family and friends. Then we found our schedule is already full with so many activities in the church now that we have taken various responsibilities in the ministry. Church work isn’t work, but labor of love, and yet just the same, you have to give your time and 100 percent on it.
It’s not true that when you’re not working, you have all the time in the world. False. I just realized that, you don’t have time when you choose your world and decide to “work” on it, live on it. For so many years, my world has been my work; my skills and what I do for a living have, to an extent, defined who I am. Today, I live in a world where employment stops defining one’s personality, capability, failures, successes, and even futures.
So now I am blogging about this world. The world of a housewife seems boring and carefree to others. I would not disagree because others’ sense of excitement and achievement may really be based on compliments from the boss, promotions, and higher salaries. It’s just that in my world now, as a housewife, I feel fulfilled when I get a thumbs-up sign from my hubby for the meals I experimented cooking for him, for breaking my back cleaning the house, and all the works. And you know, these may take hours too, it’s beyond an 8-5 job and yes, you get busy for house chores. I also get excited when we have our dates, whether it’s it in the mall, bar, coffee shop or just at home, if you know what I mean, hehe.
And yet it’s not as if my “employment” as his wife, as Mrs. ___, is the definition of who I am, what I do, can do, and can’t do. Who am I? I am not just Mrs. Hubby’s-surname the day I got married. I am still the same obnoxious girl who likes to humor everyone, though I just turned to a lady who has to lower down the volume of her laughter, as prescribed by the hubby. I am still frank, but not brutally frank anymore, ever since hubby taught me to be more sensitive. I am still the same me in so many ways, but I’d like to believe in an upgraded, improved version. And then there were the inevitable changes, I got submissive to a man, my man, when I used to love girl power or woman empowerment. I realized, it’s easier to submit to someone not just because you love him, but because, he loves you much and sometimes, more.
What is my future as Mrs.Hubby’s-surname? I would still be cooking and cleaning the house but I still have a gazillion dreams that reflect what I can do and can’t do –but mostly would want to do. These include learning new languages, driving, culinary, putting up a business, having children, traveling to Japan, Korea, Greece, Spain, revisiting Italy, Paris, and Switzerland, donating a building to a church, worshipping one God the way He wants to be worshipped with our families and friends, writing a book that can shake the world, designing my own clothes, etcetera etcetera.
Did I choose this world? It’s easier to say to others that my husband prefers that I stop working, that he suggests that I only take part-time jobs but not full-time work, because he values my health. And I know, he also feels a sense of achievement for this, because it means he can take care of all the bills by himself.
It’s more difficult to explain that I also like this world. At first, I thought I would never be a housewife for long. I remember filling out a form, where there is a space asking for your employment, and I wrote “housewife,” and I have to read it thrice, a bit disbelieving. I thought my shock came from the fact that I felt inadequate having no employment, but I realized that when I wrote “housewife,” it already meant I embraced being one, otherwise, I could have just written “none,” right? I like this world, not just because I have more free time on my hands, but because I am able to think more, feel more. Think what I can do more with my free time, think about our future and not just my future, what we both want, not just what I want. Feel more love, appreciate that the simple things done for you are done out of love, and being able to give more love to others whom I used to ignore.
Why it’s easy for me to give up the so-called career? Because work, really, has just stopped being my source and sense of fulfillment in life, it is simply a tool to earn more, save more, get rich. And long ago, even before I got married, I realized I’m not Madonna-ma-ma-maateerial girl hehe. I rejected three fat offers, two of these include being able to work in other progressive countries because there were more important things to consider other than earning dollars, instead of pesos. Though I indulge in pleasures that can be bought by money, I am happier when I am able to put a smile on the people I love and value, and be with them longer than I am in the office. In fact, my bosses from my previous employments often guessed when hubby arrives in the country, they say I am dying to get home when I used to be the last to leave the office. My hubby is higher than my boss, so it’s also difficult to explain to others that I feel more dejected when my husband got so dismayed that he came home one night and I haven’t cooked any meal for him compared to a time when a boss got disappointed in me for submitting an article so late.
This is my world now. I haven’t explored it much and there is so much more to discover. I am excited and feel blessed that in this world, I get to work more with the man I love.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hail to sunblock

Summer is officially over here in Manila and rains are pouring again.  But whether it's sunny or rainy out here, I can't seem to go out without this sunblock. I just purchased another one yesterday though my old tube is still full, I'm afraid the shop in the mall near our place would again be out of stock. In fact, I think, if there's one reason I wouldn't want to immigrate to other country, it's having to leave this peace of gem. (hehe, i sound like a pathetic beauty junkie! actually you can order this product online). It's my little beauty secret, I think the reason why I look a bit younger for my age, hehe, is that I slather on sunblock every day whether I'll stay indoors or outdoors.

I started using "VMV Hypollergenics Armada Face and Body Shield  60" sunblock back in March 2007 or earlier when I was looking for a sunblock with the highest SPF.  Perhaps, I was just surveying the beauty counters until one saleslady egged me to buy this.  That sales girl probably put me on trance or something, hehe, I was surprised that I was convinced to buy an expensive sunblock like this (currently priced at P1,590 for an 85g tube, i can't remember the old price but about P1,000 too in 2007.)  There are cheaper and more tested brands out there. But perhaps, the reasons I had back then, are these:

High sun protection factor, SPF 60. The higher the sun protection factor (SPF) of a sunscreen, the longer you can stay under the sun before burning. For example, SPF 15 only allows you to stay for 150 minutes (15 minutes x 10)  or 2 hours and 30 minutes under the sun.
For face and body.  No need to purchase another sunblock for your face. Actually, the rule of thumb, in any beauty product, what you can put on your face, you can apply them on your body, shoulders, arms, legs, etc.  But vice versa, body lotions can't be put on your face, a no-no!
Makes you instantly "fairer."  Yeah, the moment you apply it! Credit that to the whiteness of the cream. When another sunblock manufacturer came out with a liquid transparent sunscreen, I switched to them and left my fave sunblock, convinced that your face can look ghostly with all its whiteness.  But in the end, I went back to using this sunblock because its whiteness actually makes you feel more protected. Why? Read next paragraph.
Won't be washed off in water.  Whether you're soaked in sea water or chlorine-based pool for hours, you will see that its whiteness won't be washed off easily, it may fade a bit but it sticks to your skin. So you feel kinda more protected from the sun with that "extra layer" of white coating on your skin.  But no worries, once you need to actually take 'em off, just take a bath, soap with water can take all of 'em.

However, there are a few cons to this product.  I am a bit disappointed that their new formula is more watery. Before, I didn't have to shake the product before using it, now I have to do so, otherwise, crystal-clear water would ooze out from the tube. The salesladies at their beauty counters explained they had to change the formula because others complained it's difficult to blend the product because of its thick cream. I had the same problem before, but I guess, I smartened up to it and used a creamier firming lotion first for my body before applying it. For my face, I always use a moisturizer before applying it. So I didn't have a hard time blending the product on my face and body.
One contradiction to this product is that even though it's SPF 60, you actually have to apply it every 1-2 hours when outdoors as its label suggests. Indoors, I think you can get away without reapplying it from time to time. But I guess, the reason why you need to reapply every hour or so is because, when you perspire heavily doing activities under the sun like swimming and strolling outdoors, the cream may come off easily on your skin.

But overall, I'd say I'll stick to this product until I'm old and gray. I forgot to mention that its product literature at the back of the product was actually the giveaway that convinced me to grab this product. It says: "comprehensive, intensive, opaque protection against skin darkening, skin cancer, photoaging, and melasma...helps lighten pigmentations and overall skin tone." Back then, it was my first time to read a skin product, which in a way, threatens you about skin cancer and melasma.  And obviously, the scare tactic worked and still works for me. :P

 By the way, if you want to try this product but decide to wait till the next sale period, don't wait. They never  put this product on sale now. And I don't think they will ever put it on sale. According to one shop, on average, they sell about 58 tubes per month. They can give up to 50% discount on all their other products but not this particular product. That's how popular it is, people would still buy it even though it's not on sale.  I'm just lucky that in 2007, they still put it on sale. But end of 2008 and last year, they never gave any discount on this product.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Simple things I enjoy doing with my hubby

I already enjoyed doing simple things with my hubby, then boyfriend, when we were not yet married. And when we tied the knot, I still enjoy doing the same old things. Only this time, it’s more fun and carefree. It’s probably because we now have more time to do those stuff, unlike before, when we have to get home by 12 midnight (yeah, just like Cinderella!).

So here’s my list, not in order; here are some random, simple things I enjoy doing with my hubby, 7 years ago up to present…

  • Having café lattes with Belgian waffle in a quiet, coffee shop (But if the coffee shop is jampacked, I’d rather go home.)
  • Watching comedy flicks at home
  • Swimming in a pool, not beach, and racing with hubby ( I love it also when I win!)
  • A leisure walk in a decent park (What I mean by decent is that there are no couples hanging in the park who can’t afford to get a room!)
  • Role-playing like deranged co-hosts of an AM radio station (We usually do this when he’s driving and traffic is so bad in Manila!)
  • Jamming (He plays the guitar, while I sing, and then we wait for a rain or storm!)
  • Shopping and then he’ll pay (hehe, love the shopping part and not having to pay for it!)
  • Riding a bus or car and leaning my head on his shoulder
  • Teaching hubby how to count 1 to 100 in Chinese
  • Praying with hubby (Assures me that I’m with the right man)
  • Reading bible verses to hubby while checking if he’s still awake (Hehe, I know I have to stop when I hear him snoring.)
  • Watching hubby snore (it’s a bit loud, I get embarrassed others may hear it, hehe. One time we’re in the hospital, I was afraid a sleep therapist may approach him.)
  • Getting tickled to death (Actually, it’s hubby who likes doing this to me, but I enjoy having the license to scream! He only stops when I’m out of breath already!)
  • Going out-of-town (I enjoy it even more now that we’re married, no more chaperones or reporting to parents!)

Friday, June 4, 2010

The red couch and the lady

In a posh furniture shop where modern pieces are the boarders…

Red couch: (excited) Hey Mr.Pale, I’m leaving this place any time soon.
Mr. Pale Couch: (poker-faced) Oh yeah.
Red couch: I know that look on the lady’s face, she likes me! Those who adopted my siblings have the same curious eyes. My siblings are colored black and brown, but they are head-turners. What more for someone like me who has flushed cheeks, auburn hair, and rosy glowing skin? Right?!
MPC: (deadpan). Whatever. Don’t be such a snooty.
RC: Can’t help it, I need to convince myself I look good. I’m dying to leave this place, I’m so bored here. I feel useless. I feel like we’re just gonna grow old and dusty here.
MPC: Uh-huh.
RC: I must admit my skin doesn’t look too flawless anymore, I have a few scratches here and there already. But I hope they don’t notice them. Oh well, here comes the lady again with her husband. I’ll keep my mouth shut and sit still now.

Lady: This red couch is nice. It matches the two red chairs we have on our dining table.
Hubby: It’s too red…
Lady: That’s the idea.
Shop manager: It’s actually a sofa bed, ma’am.
Lady: Oh that’s great. It doesn’t look like it. Unlike other sofa beds where metal frames are conspicuous, this seems just like an ordinary couch.
Hubby: Quite small for a sofa bed.
Shop manager: Not really sir. (proceeds to transform it to a bed). It even has a discreet magazine rack on its arms.
Lady: (gasps) Wow, even better.
Hubby: Yeah. But how come it only has 1 arm rest?
Shop manager: Sir, because the other side can be used to attach this leather stool to serve as an extension of the sofa bed. Actually, in the middle of this couch, there’s an arm rest or mini table (proceeds to demo again).

Lady: Nice. It’s as if we have 2-piece sofa set.
Hubby: But that looks weird, only one end of the couch has an arm rest.
Shop manager: You can swap the arm rest to the other side.
Hubby: (not really impressed) Oh. Do you have a measuring tape?
Lady: We’ll just see if it can fit in our pad.

After several measurements here and there…

Hubby: It fits.
Lady: So how much is this couch?
Shop manager: 29K+ + +… but it’s part of the sale, you get 30% discount for this.
Lady: Too steep.
Hubby: Yeah, for a sofa bed, that’s expensive. (looks around) How about this beige sofa bed? I think this is even more spacious than the red couch. The color doesn’t look loud.

The couple looks all over the place again.

Lady to shop manager: We haven’t decided on anything yet. We’ll look in other shops too. Maybe we’ll come back later.

Red couch: Oh no, the hubby likes you better than me!
Mr. Pale: (suddenly interested) I know and I’m sure it’s the husband who has the last say because he’ll be the one paying for me. So, I bet I’m gonna say goodbye to you first.
RC: Bummer!

After an hour…

Lady: You know, I still prefer the red couch. It’s a bit expensive than other sofa beds and recliners but it’s multifunctional. It has…. (yakity-yak-yak)
Hubby: OK, let’s go back and buy it.
Lady: Yay!

Back at the store…

Lady: We’ll buy this. Do you have a new stock?
Hubby: Do you have black or beige couch like this?
Shop manager: Sir, ma’am, it’s the last piece. I already checked with our other branches.
Lady: Yaiks. I don’t like buying the last piece.
Hubby: Maybe let’s opt for the bigger beige couch.
Lady: Uhmnn, no. Hey, give us a higher discount, like 50% off, it’s the last piece plus I saw a tiny scratch over there.
Shop manager: I’m afraid that’s not possible ma’am, this is on sale already.
Lady: C’mon, talk to the owner first. Isn’t the lady over there the owner?
Shop manager: No, ma’am, but she’s my boss. I’ll ask her. Wait.

After a minute…

Shop manager: Sorry, ma’am, but we can only give you 5% off more, so that's 35% off from regular price.
Lady: (facing husband) What do you think? Your credit card or mine?
Hubby: Ok, ok. Charge it to my credit card.

RC: So long, Mr. Pale Couch.
MPC: Crap! Don’t rejoice too soon.

After a few months... in the new home of the red couch…

RC: I feel ugly. Why do these little dust and dirt keep on sticking to me? I was cleaned three days ago, but look at me now.
Lady: (frustrated) I thought this WipeOut is supposed to remove the stains and different forms of dirt on leather. But so far, it’s only making the couch shiny, but the small dark spots are still there.
Hubby: I remember telling you that a leather couch is more difficult to maintain.
Lady: (sighs) And what am I gonna do with this ballpen ink stain?

So the lady is googling now to know what kind of cleaning agent should work best for the red leather couch.

So far, I’ve got cologne, alcohol, metal hydrate solution (??) and sunblock. But I’m afraid to try any of these on the beloved red couch. Sighs. Will google for more insights.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Why people resign and won't resign

I have some stuff to blog about, but lately, I have been quite busy with work, actually more of labor of love, in the church. But this news I learned from CNN just awhile ago gives me the nudge to go online and blog.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama resigned officially today due to broken campaign promise. He is the fourth prime minister to resign in Japan in four years. For us Filipinos, this is laudable; it shows “delicadeza,” utmost humility, highest regard for reputation, even respect to one’s self. Here in Manila, we have politicians who eat criticisms for breakfast, even lunch and dinner from all sorts of media outfits and yet they don’t mind, they will stick to their posts no matter what. The best model for this is outgoing President Gloria Macapagal who doesn’t care even if her reputation gets tarnished, if co-politicos and citizens get insane over her management style, what matters to her is she’s insanely greedy for power.

But enough of the politics. I just can’t help but wonder why some people resign and why others won’t. I just learned that my former editor in chief is being terminated or forced to resign from the company. I kinda pity her because the GM won’t give her desired back pay, won’t allow her to write the editor’s note anymore, and won’t even allow her to join the staff pictorial (everyone is in the picture, except the eic!). She’s being resolute that she won’t resign until next year, though the GM wants her out fast. I know she’s largely to be blamed for the termination, but the way the GM rudely treats her, I feel that she’s being more pathetic by trying hard to cling to her post. When I was still in the company and she had no one else to talk to, she told me privately that she wanted to quit already. That time, that early, she knows she can’t stay long in the company, but now that the time has come for her to leave in peace, why does she have to be irrationally obnoxious about her position? Maybe she earns too much she can’t let it go. But I think, it’s more of pride.

Oh well, maybe that’s it. People either resign or don’t and won’t resign out of pride. The Japanese prime minister resigned to save his dignity, whatever is left of it. My former EIC won’t resign out of pride, maybe the longer she stays, the longer she feels she has kept her dignity intact.

Looking back, I realized I had my own share of resignations from companies as well. I had seven companies since I graduated in 2002. My first job was editorial assistant for a TV guide magazine but barely after a month, I resigned because I felt it was boring. I was hoping to write articles, but because I was an editorial assistant my main job is to furnish all the photos and research materials the EIC needs, not write articles. I found myself dozing off several times at my desk, haha.

Then, I landed a job as a regular writer for an e-business magazine, but because I felt they are not paying me much, I looked for other jobs. The editor in chief of then popular business magazine got me also as a regular writer. I was happy with my paychecks until I was forced to resign from my first regular writing stint when the company found out I was writing for a would-be business competitor that time. Aw, so I resigned out of delicadeza also, hehe.

Then I became a researcher for an award-winning news and public affairs TV program. I enjoyed the pressure and the fact that my stories are changing a nation. I wouldn’t forget our local government agency banned the sale of acetone in any drugstore and sari-sari store when the head of that agency learned from my interview with him that acetone has serious health repercussions and that others are getting addicted to it. So even up to now, acetone manufacturers would write in their labels “nail polish with acetone” instead of purely acetone. Blame it on me! I know that the erratic schedule was doing something on my health, that even though my late beloved Nana knew I was enjoying my time there, she asked me to resign because barely two weeks on the job, I lost 10 pounds! But I didn’t resign, I lasted for almost a year there. Not until I realized I couldn’t even find time to go out with my boyfriend (now hubby) and friends who even went near my place of work so we can hang out. I resigned because I realized it’s not the job I wanted to have until I grow old. I said, I don’t want to be still doing this when I get married and have kids. I went back to my passion, magazine, which I feel, gives me more freedom in time.

I then became the editor in chief of a new lifestyle magazine. I was 24 years old and I felt boastful of my position though a bit lost. I got help from my friends. But even though I was working 24/7, and gave more money than what I received from my salary as EIC, the company folded. Damn the publisher, he had too many wives who mismanaged the funds for the printing of the magazine! They even owe me 20,000 bucks up to now. But it was somehow God’s way of showing me where I should really be. I told myself the next job I should have must be an editor, not a writer. Luckily, I got to be managing editor of one of the biggest printing companies. Again, I was a bit boastful that I get to be the managing editor of 3 magazines and 2 song hits. But then, lo and behold, I realized I couldn’t tell anyone which magazines I work for, because the 3 magazines are smut magazines! After a month, I resigned! After a long talk with my boyfriend-now-hubby, I realized my conscience can’t take it to pollute the minds of my already perverted readers. So I resigned!
Then I got to be an editor of a health and parenting magazine. It’s actually a dream job for me. Good paycheck, sense of fulfillment, all the works are there! But sadly, I had to resign, this time, for my health. For wanting a baby so badly, I need to fix my own physical problem first. So now I’m back to being a bum, haha. But no regrets. And I realized, out of the many goodbyes I had with these companies, there was only one company which I resigned out of pride. So maybe I should congratulate myself, hehe, for having more reasons to resign other than pride.

Oh well, this is too long. I need to log off now. I have to go to church for another “labor of love.”

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Stranger in my own home

I am blogging right now in my old room, my very first own room when I was still single. In my childhood years, I always shared a room with my siblings. So when I heard that our family was moving into our own house with my own room, I decorated this room, my theme was baby blue, silver and nature. Yup, nature but not in green colors, but blue and silver. So I bought any item that fits the description. I put a wall clock, shaped like a sun but colored silver and baby blue, above my painted glass window. Below the window, I placed mini candles, shaped like seashells, in hues of blue and white. I also bought a standing silver candle holder, with the face of the sun on it. I also put a beaded curtain in my window and door, again in baby blue. Not to mention that I was strict with my linens, if I had to change the bedsheet with the skies design, the color of the bedsheet and pillow cases have to be baby blue. So I felt I fused skies and oceans in my room. It was my little haven.

But now, seeing this room, I feel like a stranger in my own room, in our family’s home. The sun wall clock is still there, where I left it. But everything changed already. Gone are the beaded curtains, gone are the candle seashells. Since this is the only room at the living room, it has been the favorite room of everybody who’s too tired to go to the second floor. Now, there are green curtains, hangers with different clothes at the back of the door, colorful linens, and lots of bags, from paper bags to handbags to luggage, everywhere.

Apart from the obvious change I see in my room, I feel like a stranger in my own home. Right now, I couldn’t tell exactly why. They always welcome my presence here, especially when I’m with hubby. But maybe, the warm welcome is exactly what makes me feel alienated. Ironic, but it’s just the way it is, it makes me feel I no longer live here because I have to be welcomed. Or maybe it’s the fact that I really feel I no longer live here. My home now is the place which my husband and I chose to live. It’s not big like this house, it’s not even our own house because we are just renting it. But it’s our place which we decorated, put love on it, made love within it, hehe. That now, even though I am in my family’s house, even though it’s comfortable here since I don’t have to do any household work and just leave everything to the maids, I am dying to go back to me and my husband’s place. This isn’t my home now. My home is where my new family is. Though we don’t have kids yet, my new family is my husband. I wonder, do other married women feel the same? Or is it just me?

Anyway, there’s a consolation. I realized that though I feel like a stranger in my own home, I will always choose to stay here, in my old room, whenever I am here. Though there are two more vacant rooms upstairs, I always choose to stay in my very first own room. I remember that it was a bit weird when I first slept here as a married woman. My mom, forgetting that I was married already, instructed my husband to sleep in the other room. I forgot how I reminded her that we’re already married and it’s okay to sleep with him now. But then, it sank to her that yeah, I got married already, and I just got back for a visit. It was the first time of my husband to sleep in my own room, and I know, we both felt awkward, hehe. But after awhile, after feeling the soft but sturdy mattress against a heavy-duty narra bed frame, which we compared with our own bed, we both relaxed… And then, at that moment, I felt, I’m home again, but this time, with my new family.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Garbage story

Taking care of our garbage was never my problem before until we moved to this apartment this year. In condominiums, you just throw and push every stinking item you have down into the garbage chute. But in communities like this, you wait for the dump truck to honk and wake every sleepy nerve in your body in the early morning. Because if you don’t get out of bed immediately, you would miss your once-in-a-lifetime chance to hand your garbage to the garbage men, oh boy. When hubby is around, he takes care of this. With an unbelievable adrenaline rush, he jumps out of bed, changes his shorts and shirt (which, by the way, is my little request since I’m paranoid that the odor of the neighborhood’s trash and the viruses from the bugs and flies would stick to his clothes, which I’d be embracing once he returns to bed! Eww.), then chases the garbage men.
But hubby’s not been around since last month, so I have to do the dirty job. Which stinks, which I hate.

So it’s not surprising that I have never met the garbage men up to now. Or was it me who waited at our gate one time? Darn, I was too sleepy to even remember. And as expected, my trashes have accumulated the past 2 weeks. Oh yes, can you imagine the ants, the mosquitoes, even the spiders and lizards rejoicing over their growing treasure at our backyard? And I shouldn’t forget the stray cat, who manages to squeeze its body to the slim gaps in our gate whenever it smells the trash. Looks like everybody’s happy except me, huh?

My only hope is the little kids who knock at every gate and door, shouting “ate, ate patapon.” These kids, probably between 6- to 9-years old, would collect garbage from villagers like me who didn’t catch the elusive garbage men the past few days. In exchange, you’ll hand them a few pennies, or for others, loose change. But unlike the garbage men, these kids don’t have a schedule, they just show up whenever they want. The past few days, I heard them shouting their services, “patapon, patapon.” But blame it on the extreme heat, I was moving quite slowly, that I even missed the kids knocking on my gate. Quite pathetic, I know. But a few minutes ago, I heard them loud and clear though their voices sounded far, so I opened my door even before they can knock. Gosh, I was too excited to clear my garbage, whoever thought that throwing garbage can perk me up like this, hehe? Now, I smell a sweet sense of victory! Thanks to the kids, my garbage woes are over, temporarily.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

To like or not to like neighbors

That is my question. I feel like asking this, because it is only now that I realize the existence of the word neighbors, n-e-i-g-h-b-o-r-s.

It’s not as if I have lived in a secluded, remote place all my life. It’s just that when I was growing up, I wouldn’t care less about the neighbors. When our family lived in a bungalow, our dear Nana didn’t allow us to be like the other kids who would go from one house to another looking for playmates, instead our beloved Nana asked our kid neighbors to come and play at home. And when we lived from three-story building to high-rise condo, I still wouldn’t care less about them. I remember quickening my pace or closing the elevator doors, even though neighbors were yelling “waaait!” I’m kinda bitch, I know.
When I got married, husband decided that we rent a condo near my place of work. And you know how it is in condos situated in very urban areas of Makati – no one wants to know each other’s business. Though your door is just a few steps apart from theirs, you want to let your ears pretend you didn’t hear the “ooohs” and “aaaaahs” that echo through the walls during nighttime, because you’re not even sure if they came from two gays, yaya and the driver, old men without a partner. Or just cats, hehe. Enough of these revolting details…

So anyway, I could write a dozen more reasons why I didn’t feel the existence of neighbors before. But this afternoon, I began to really take note, neighbors do exist.

I am just a bit bothered that they are singing, again, a song. I heard the words loud and clear though my doors were closed, but since I decided to consciously, forcefully not listen to it, now I can’t remember any lyrics from the song. Which is good. I wouldn’t want to have the last song syndrome or LSS of whatever they’re singing. Because the last time I didn’t consciously, forcefully not listen to them, husband and myself found ourselves singing, (and thank gawwdness, not dancing) to the tune of “Nobody, nobody but you, nooobody” from lunch until midnight! Gosh, the young kids were singing and dancing to it, while its tune squeals from a broken and presumably dusty boom box. I know, this shouldn’t be enough reason why I should dislike them. Besides they’re kids and they may only be doing it for a school presentation (waait, they did that the entire March so there’s no more school that time right?). But having it as our wake-up alarm in the morning until late afternoon for almost one full month is just TOO muuuch. That’s one point, or should I say, one dozen points.

Hubby is even more alarmed, actually scandalized is the better term, whenever he hears the nagging mom screaming, nagging, screaming, nagging then letting out a final scream to her kids. The worst part of this drama, after hubby hears all of these, he faces me and says, “sana hindi ka maging ganon.” Whaaat, does hubby really think I’m gonna end up like the neighbor mom? No way, over my dead voluptuous body. :P I can’t be like that! Two points for the neighbors!

Then, the second apartment, thrice a month more or less, would have their own party at their place, from around 8pm until 5am, drowning themselves in bottles of San Mig or Red Bull. Are we lucky that there’s no videoke blaring all night? Yes, we’re lucky also that they’re not the rowdy Tondo types who would throw bottles and knock each other out. But our fortune ends there, I blame it on the ventilation (though I dunno if it’s connected to sound waves) and the fact that we’re just about 5 meters away from their place, we hear all their earth-shattering laughter, with magnitude beyond the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Japan. And that’s from 8pm until 5am, I repeat.

Those are three points, which seem shallow, but for a couple used to having their own peace, those three points say a lot – yoohoo, you have neighbors now! So can you conclude my answer to the question, to like or not to like neighbors?
Oh yeah right, sorry, I forgot the part where I should likewise be discussing the likes, the potential of liking our neighbors. Here goes… For now, (sigh), there’s none. Nada. But maybe that’s our problem, we don’t mingle with them, and we choose not to, so we can’t really judge if we should like them or not.

I don’t know their names, not even their faces. But hey, I perfectly know their voices! And maybe, it will stay this way for quite some time. Until an opportunity to like them comes.

What I do know is that they kinda like us. Haha, I’m assuming, I know. My basis is that last month, when it was earth hour, they only began turning off their lights when we did, and their cue to start turning on the lights again is not their clock but our lights. “Ayun, puede na raw, may ilaw na sila,” said our neighbor kid. And I noticed twice already that whenever I start sweeping our li’l backyard, our neighbor mom will start sweeping theirs too. So maybe someday, we will talk to neighbors and get a bit friendly. Knowing your neighbors may be good too – you’ll have someone receive mails if you’re not around, you’ll have someone to look around your place if you leave home, and if you’re in dire need of gossip, perhaps the nagging mom have something in store for you.

But for now, hubby and myself are just comfy having our own peace in our little place.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The benefits of having a friend come over to your place

...I get to exercise!
I sweat a lot by doing general cleaning. After doing 3 hours of dusting, sweeping, cleaning the windows, electric fans, etc., I burned 555 calories (according to preventdisease.com), which is equivalent to more than 2 café lattes, grande, whole milk at Starbucks.

…I get to cook the recipes I only lifted from my imagination, hehe.
I only thought they were edible, but after doing a bit of googling, I realized a few of these recipes actually exist! I cooked sinigang na manok. I love sinigang na baboy but since I’m trying to stay away from pork, I thought chicken can be a good alternative. For dessert, I mixed kiwi with strawberry jam. The following morning, I prepared pancakes with nutella, cinnamon flavored pancake syrup, butter, topped with strawberry jam. For late lunch, I prepared pasta, which my friend fondly called cheesy spicy tuna pasta. I mixed San Marino chili corned tuna with carbonara sauce, added some water, olive oil, basil, topped with grated cheese. I was scared that the pasta would taste terrible, but even our ants loved it! After a few hours, my friend saw that 3 ants drowned in my leftover pasta sauce. But she was still willing to eat the sauce had I not decided that even ants should have pasta for dinner!

…Hair spa again!
When your hair is digitally permed like mine, you need to maintain it as well. There’s the advantage of not having to comb your hair every day and having the excuse to look fashionably haggard, hehe, but the ends of your hair can look so dry and eventually become brittle. Though I just had my hair color and hair spa last week, I felt I overlooked my hair for the past few months, it needs pampering again. Anyway, salon treatments here are cheap because so many salons compete against each other in our neighborhood.

…Good laugh; endless, nonsense conversations until 4am.
When we heard the rooster crowing and some streaks of light passing through the curtain, we realized it’s time to say good night and good morning. After about a few minutes (or was it seconds??) of silence, we chatted again for an hour. Certified chatterbox queens? You bet.

...Time to discover your friend again. And time to discover yourself as well.
From nonsense topics, we got to some serious discussions as well, though that lasted for about an hour only, hehe. When a friend stays overnight at your place, you can do more than just catching up. You can tackle new topics, realize that you may have different points of view, and still end up as good friends.

Thank you Bennetsky! Aliwin mo ulit ako next time!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bum + boredom = blogging

I have been a bum for more than four months already. And it's only now that I feel bored so I decided to revisit this blog and start writing again. The past few months were not boring because even though I wasn’t working, I was infinitely enjoying having a bakasyon engrande with family and friends. But now that hubby left me again to work abroad, I stay most of the time at home. I'm alone at home so I don't feel the need to wake up before hubby does and cook and prepare other wifely duties. And so boredom knocks on my door now.

I admitted this to hubby. He told me if I want to work again, I should look for home-based jobs. Hubby doesn't want me to work full time anymore, which entails going to different places, staying late when he's not around, unnecessary pressures. I must agree that I feel so much better physically now that I don’t work anymore. No more sleepless nights of tossing and turning on bed because I couldn’t find a good position for my back, and thank goodness, these past 3 weeks have been really amazing for me (I should write about it some other time), no more nights when I would wake up in the middle of the night because I couldn’t breathe.

Being a bum seems to be good for me, at least for my health, and for the most part, hehe, I enjoy the freedom of not working my ass, haha. But when I’m alone, without any agenda for the day, that’s when I feel bored. And fear that even my brain cells will get bored and make me dumb. I am proud to be a bum, hehe, but not a dumb. So here I am, blogging again.

I have a friend who makes money out of blogging. She inspires me to start writing again. Isn’t that a better reason why I should start blogging again? Hmmm.