Saturday, February 28, 2009

Too late the hero.

Manila is abuzz with excitement over the news that finally Filipino veterans of World War II, our homegrown soldiers who fought side by side with Americans in Corregidor but who have neither gained renown nor recompense for it, will finally be awarded their due. I am sure many of those veterans who are still alive are euphoric. In these hard times particularly, they could do well with manna from heaven, one fallen unexpectedly from the sky, in the form of half a million pesos.

But out of 240,000 to 250,000 Filipino veterans, only 18,000 remain, their ranks constantly depleted like leaves in autumn at the rate of 10 a day. Our veterans are too old now that marching to the US Embassy to comply with the requirement, proved more arduous than the Death March from Corregidor to Capas.

The compensation of the Filipino veterans is a start, but it barely scratches the surface in giving them their due. Indeed, it barely goes beyond the first step in giving this country its due. It hasn’t begun to address the powerful currents of discrimination that underlie the American neglect, albeit, betrayal, of its former colony after the war.

You don’t quite know whether to regard this as victory or defeat, as stark tragedy or black comedy. But you have to wonder why it had taken this long for the US government to finally cast an eye in our direction. Franklin D. Roosevelt had promised to indemnify every Filipino to the last carabao (water buffalo) who would take up arms against the Japanese. Of course many of them had no choice: It was their duty; they were soldiers. But many others were not, they were civilians turned by the outrage and the atrocities into guerrillas. Of course, too, Roosevelt would die before he could live up to his word, leaving Harry Truman to make good on the unpaid bill. But then he proved to be anything but a true man, turning his attention, and American money, instead to reconstructing Germany and Japan, the countries that had made hell for the world.

We Filipinos can see the discriminatory mindset even at this late date, in an American movie “The Great Raid,” which tells the story of an operation during the war that led to the freeing of more than 500 American POWs in Cabanatuan. The raid has landed in the American annals of war as one of the most daring and successful operations ever carried out by American soldiers. The film stresses the point, noting in the end, before the credits roll, that it led to the deaths of hundreds of Japanese and only two American soldiers. One POW died later from disease, making the entire casualty only three. For the record, it also adds that the raid led to the deaths of 21 Filipinos who helped carry it out.

How can an operation that led to the deaths of 24 people, presumably brothers-in-arms, be seen as having so ingenious a strategy and so miraculous an outcome? Only if you don’t look at the 21 too closely, or at all. In fact, unless you argue that the Filipinos were just too dumb to know how to dodge the Japanese bullets, you have to assume that the real daring was shown by them. They bore the brunt of the Japanese fire either because they took the lead or the more dangerous aspects of the operation. However charitable the movie looks at Filipinos by Hollywood standards, its perspective remains horribly skewed.

Change has come to America. When will it come to the world?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

In memory of Baboo.

I am grieving. I personally had to deal with the loss of two kittens. Even though Devo died last year and Baboo only yesterday when he was run over by a car, there was never a right time to say goodbye.

My adorable Baboo was a risk taker, an explorer and prone to loving purring moments. Baboo has a simple daily schedule: breakfast in the kitchen; playtime in the garage when the sun was shining or playtime in the living room, running here and there and bumping into furniture; dinner in the kitchen; and bedtime snuggled up to her best friend and sister, Inee, a calico cat he was left with since kittenhood. Baboo was cared for with total love and consideration up to his final purr.

While I am going through my grieving process, Stray the mother and Inee his sister is also going through theirs as well. Inee seemed to take a little more time wandering the garage and wondering where his snooze mate had gone. And just last night both were up long after their bedtime and meowing in the kitchen, and I wondered if it was out of their missing Baboo.

I have become so connected with my pets, that losing them seemed like losing a family member. Because, after all, pets are part of families, aren't they?

It is sad but I know that all too often the death of a pet is relegated to the land of lesser losses. A pet, as many would think, is not as important as a good job, a nice home, a wonderful romance or a dear friend. Many would think that losing a pet could not be nearly as upsetting as losing any of those other things.

Sure, the loss of a pet does not necessarily impact on one's safety on the planet in the way the loss of a job or a home might. And, certainly, the smartest of us would never want to begin arguing about the value of pet love versus human love.

But in the land of relationships, the experiences of love and loss of love are unique. To have a friend leave, whether it is a friend covered in fur, feathers, scales or just skin....well, it can be an experience of the most profound and poignant kind.

I know that these feelings, which range from joy to untenable loss, is part of the cycle of life. I would say, it is all part of the ride.

And to ride alongside a fuzzy or feathered or scaled buddy for a time and to have them choose to ride with me is an honor, a delight and, eventually, an experience worth having.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An ode to courageous people

I have been following blogs of people with chronic illness or maybe what I can call as "specific conditions". Amy, Phil and Kirst has urostomy, Ray has ostomy, is diabetic and also a colon cancer survivor, Sid with his panic disorder, and Joey with her brittle asthma.

I was never aware of these conditions before, but now I can understand why these people feel vulnerable, confused, and worried about their health and the future. I can empathized with their sadness and disappointments, and I don't blame them if they find it unfair and they sometimes get angry with themselves or with the people around them. I know that these feelings are part of the coping process. And even if each one's reaction is different, I know they are all completely normal.

But what I admire most from them is how well they take control of their conditions that it doesn't seem frightening at all. Instead, they will tell us how comfortable they are with their treatments and with the tools or shots that they use to live a normal life. Phil and Kirst had walk me through their daily regimen of changing their bags, and Ray with his insulin shots and cat scans, Joey with her steroids shots, Amy with her pain numbing morphine, and Sid with his pills. They even told it in manner that the steps involved will seem like just another way to care for one's body, in much the same way that daily teeth brushing or showering help people stay healthy.

But of course I also see glimpses of their vulnerabilty to the illness as emotions would surface at all stages of the coping process. I guess everybody's idea of coming to terms with and accepting a chronic illness is different. Even if their treatments go well, they still feel sad or worried from time to time. It is but natural if they also feel the pull of wanting to lead a "normal" life in which they don't need medicine, have no limitations, or have to care for themselves in any special way.

With such daily challenges, I salute these fellow bloggers inner resilience. It seems that they have learned more about themselves through dealing with their health challenges. Striving for a balance between work and play, rest and activity, relationships and solitude, and grief and joy, has made them accept their limitations and appreciate their gifts.

Go, visit their blogs by clicking on those names and be inspired by their courage.

Monday, February 23, 2009

'Coz Tracey had asked, so here are my boys.

I can say that raising a son or sons is an adventure no matter what way you look at it. People have said that girls are easier to raise than boys. But honestly, with no girls in the house I wouldn’t really know.

As a mom of three boys, I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the years telling my sons to settle down, look where you’re going, be careful, take it easy, and watch out! But they always seem to gravitate towards challenges - ninja moves, stick fighting, climbing, running at high speed…

Sorry for the hazy photo of Tido, but unlike my memories of my sons growing up years, it was all so clear to me. Theirs’ is loud and SMASH, SMASH, SMASH! For them the living room is for climbing, figurines are for stacking and the pans are for banging – KAPLOW, CHOMP ,CHOMP, KABLOOM! There are always balls of all sizes and colors, and running and tickling and laughter is easy.

But there isn’t any surefire rule when it comes to raising boys. Every little guy is different, and what works with my eldest may not work with the next. So all I did was enjoy the pleasure of discovering each of their unique traits. But there are loads of things that make raising my boys a blast.

First, my boys don’t care if the house is messy. They make the mess, especially Benjie!

My boys will wear underwear more than one day if you don't get around to the laundry. Heck, they'll just go without if they have to, hahaha. And if I ask one of my son what he’s thinking about and he says “ nothing,” then that’s probably true.

My boys have always been hearty eaters. Now that they're in their teens and very active, they really eat me out of house and home. With three boys, the younger one always end up with the small piece of cake pretty often so I need to set aside extra food for him. That's him below - Cedric.

Raising boys is different. Seriously. How many little girls stuff their socks between the couch cushions, left sticky gel on the mirror, or thinks that "Do you want to wash dishes?" is actually a question.

But, I could still remember when they were little tykes and I would stare lovingly at them while they sleep. I love caressing my son’s soft hair and listening at their quiet breathing and took pride of their loyalty - for my little boys then, nobody, absolutely nobody, is as good as mama. Nobody.

Another award!!!
Tracey is becoming such a popular blogger getting an award every so often which she oh so generously pass on to fellow friends who's blog she also follow - me included.

Do check out her blog from the link and be amazed at how this lady despite only two-hours sleep every night is able to create pretty things and cooked the best cookies and yet makes it so easy I sometimes believe I can do it myself!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Letting go.

Isn't that what we wanted all along
Freedom like a stone
Maybe we were wrong
But I can say goodbye
Now that the passion's died
Still it comes so slow
The letting go

Letting go...
It is difficult for me in so many ways and in so many levels. Yet life calls upon me to do it, over and over again. I guess letting go is part of everyone's growth process. You see, we cannot move on to the new while we continue to cling to the old.

Yes Amna, there will always come a time when we must learn to let go of relationships. Maybe the relationship was not meant to be. In this case, even when there may still be feelings of passion, or attraction, or just the comfort of the familiar, you must be strong in letting go of something that is hurtful and hindering your growth.

By letting go, doesn't mean to forget or to ignore. By all means, we should carry with us the happy memories and the lessons we have learned from our past relationships. However, we need to let go in the sense of releasing emotional baggage we may be carrying around with us, so that we may be open to, and present for, a new relationship.

We also sometimes have difficulty letting go of friends and loved ones who had passed away, especially those who haven't had the opportunity to say goodbye. And there are those who have difficulty letting go of unresolved issues or guilt. We even have trouble letting go of old ways of viewing people who have been part of our lives for an extended period of time. Even when they may be changing, yet we do not let go of viewing them in the same way, and we even try to discourage that change.

Ok, I admit that I myself have difficulty letting go of my children, and allowing them to grow up. It was hard for me to make that transition from treating my children as kids, to treating them as adults and more like friends. Maybe because I am afraid to let go of my own identity as a mother. I have become so identified with that one role, that I no longer am sure who am I, outside of that role. But I realize that if I refuse to let go of old ways of identifying myself then I am hindering the growth and change that is occurring.

We all need, in one way or another to surrender to life, itself. It is not right to keep a tight grip on things that are out of our control. Let go, and allow the mystery of life to come in ...

Friday, February 20, 2009

In need of cool suggestions.

I am not a follower of Feng Shui, but the apartment I am renting faces west, so we usually have cool mornings and really hot afternoons. Being a two storey apartment, the sunlight passes through the glass window on the second floor and my bed room has turned into an oven late in the day. It is not good to lie down in the bed for apart from the heat, it can really strain your eyes even if you close them as you try to rest.

That is why after lunch during Sundays, I would often retreat to my son's bedroom, a much cooler place in the east side, with wooden walls and floor. There I try to beat the heat by sitting in front of the pc or sleeping it off on the bed or a foam spread on the floor.

Oh, but I now dread the coming of the summer season where temperatures could reach over 40deg centigrade. So please, I want to be able to to find ways to bring down the temperature in my big oven without resorting to expensive air-conditioning. Keeping cool with the use of an electricfan is never an easy thing either as the air it blows is the same hot air the room churns out.

So what can I do? Would putting a tall indoor plant in a corner of the room do the trick? I just thought that maybe having at least a green spot upon which my tired eyes can rest will lessen the heat. Or maybe putting on a darker shade of curtain to help filter extra sunlight? But I hate thick curtains as they dont allow air to circulate freely in the room.

So please help me before I melt inside my own room...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Of blogs and friendship.

I am very happy with my blog follower group and more pleased to know that it continue to grow. I think they have to be the most cheerful and supportive group that I have encountered. It's truly a breath of fresh air to see people just hanging out, having fun, learning crafts and supporting one another. Some of those who often write a nice comment in my page had not registered as a follower, but I know they are.

It was only late last year when I started writing a blog due to an urging of a friend. Yes, I sometimes write in a personal fashion, and I love it when people can connect to that. I never anticipated a medium where a written word could be read by so many people... This somehow leads to a sense of familiarity, which is expected, and eventually, a sense of intimacy - like friendship. I know that inside the heart of each regular reader of a weblog are the same feelings we felt when we are developing a friendship.

It is indeed amazing how technology makes people stay so in touch. I could say too that this medium allows people to be curious about other people and we just want to find out so much about them. What also strikes me is how willing people are to be so open about their lives and work. But then this same medium is also ripe for a false sense of intimacy – and friendship being one of them.

I have learned some tough lesson that unfortunately it seems, you only learn by living. Naah, television doesn’t teach it, schools don’t teach it, and if you’re above a certain age, our parents didn’t teach it either. You have to learn it by living, by thinking of someone as a friend, only to find out they don’t think of you as a friend. Of course, it can be devastating, I know, I’ve been there myself.

I learned that a friend is someone I can trust to be with me when I am at my weakest and most vulnerable. And they are people who, no matter how painful it is to see, are willing to be with me when I am so helpless and weak. It’s not about whether you are trustworthy, or whether you are friendly, it’s the actual act of trust that is the basis of friendship. If I trust you to be truthful, then you’re a friend. If I find I must be careful how I say things, then it’s something other than friendship.

I am glad that I have gained imaginary friends whose blogs I read everyday. I have never met these people but we are friends in my mind. These people I have gotten to know through this relationship continue to enrich my life so if you are reading this, you know who you are and why I consider it an imaginary friendship worth protecting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

About men plus an award.

I know that we parents set the first example to our children and it's our duty to teach them etiquette. Boy's should know what are the things they shouldn't be caught doing in public, especially when they are grown ups. There are some most off-putting stuff men do in public that has the potential to alienate women and, really, anyone within two feet.

For one, I don't get it when men admire themselves in front of the mirror - in public. By all means, men can check themselves in the mirror to make sure they haven’t got broccoli between their teeth or a dirt across their cheek, but if they can’t get enough of themselves in the mirror, chances are other people quickly will.

Then there is this scene we see all the time: the guy in the parked car picking his nose like he’s grabbing for a coin that’s just out of reach, or a man at a hardware store scratching his groin or a guy at the urinal driving a finger into his butt like he’s trying to read his own temperature. Sure, we all get itches, but satisfying some of them in public can spell more harm than relief, and is just one of those things guys shouldn't do in public -- ever.

And what is more gross than seeing someone puke in public? Eew! While this drunk man may be amazed at his mass of spaghetti, red wine, and foam from two pitchers of beer on the ground, we however, do not want to see the contents of his stomach.

Another turn off is seeing a man arguing with his girlfriend. Sure, he could have a valid reason why he's arguing with his girlfriend, but everyone around him will only see him one way: as a hothead. And it is even more a turn off if they're with other couples at a party, as they now cranked up the discomfort by creating an awkward atmosphere for everyone.

Oh, each time I see guys doing this I called them cowards, hahaha! Thats because they would turn their backs on you to pee conspicuously. As you know, one of the things only men can do is pee anywhere. However, that doesn’t mean they should. A hidden spot behind a dumpster or alleyway to relieve themselves works fine, kind of, but if one simply turn his back behind a car thinking he's hiding himself, then he should remember there are tons of people in front of him that can still see him clear as day. Plus, no one cares to sidestep a river of piss just to get into his or her car.


My dear friend Tracey once again pass on to me another award which I have to pass on to four others and a new follower. But the last time I checked, I dont have a new follower yet, so I have to reserve it till one comes along. Lol.

I am therefore passing on this award to Siva of Yoga in China, Sid of Useless Information, Boysie of Shifting Sand, and Phil of A Day in My life. Hey guys, check out those blogs I have mentioned as they are truly interesting. Each having something diferent to share about there experiences.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I have always admired Tracy for her beautiful home as I have seen from her blogs. I particularly like the way she kept it shabby and chic. And all these, she did with passion.

A home they say is where your heart is. But what if I dont have a home? I don't consider this apartment I am renting right now as my home. What I have instead are fragmented memories of houses I have lived in. So, where should my heart be?

Going home to the province where I once lived only made my homelessness more apparent. Gone is my room, and I have to keep my clothings in my luggage all through out my stay there. It seems like people there can enjoy only my momentary stay, or the temporary entertainment I can provide.

But it was necessary for me to leave home when I went to college and more so after graduating. I have to look for a job and the city life beckons me. It wasn't just all about adventure and the excitement of a new place, it's about making a dent in the world. Of finding one's niche, but it also means going through a thousand doors and waking up to see a hundred different ceilings and not being able to call any of them your own. So far I have moved to seven different houses since I came to the city.

But I have always created a picture of a home - my home. This home will not be mere concrete or wood, or steel or glass. It will not be featured on the front page of architectural magazines. It will not have the most fashionable furniture or the most elegant curtains and rugs. This home will not be a house, or just any other place. It will be a shelter and a refuge.

This home will be decorated by the memories of my most cherished moments. It will stand on the foundation of love, and it will have a roof of comfort. It will have windows of hope through which rays of faith may enter and bring light to the entire place. Most importantly, it will have an open door to welcome the people I keep close to me, the people who have dealt with my idiosyncracies and refused to be pushed away. The people who have kept me going in my journey and who have made me the person I am and everything that is good in me. It will be the most beautiful home that anyone has ever seen. And one day, I will find it - or build it.

I have a 500 sq m. lot in the province. This shouldn't be difficult. Some day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Reflecting at work.

There are many things in life I cannot do at my age. I have become quite aware of my numerous non-skills. Among others, these include: driving, hula-hooping, quilting and saxophone playing.

But nothing is more frustrating than seeing my dream career vanished into thin air. It's uncanny, but I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent person - I mean, I did manage to get through a college degree. However, part of me now thinks, I shouldn't have set foot in the college of Arts and Sciences.

My cherished dream was to become a "yuppie" - it was all that mattered in high school. My life ambition were to earn a lot of money, live in a bungalow, drive a car. It shouldn't have been too hard from what I saw on TV. Yuppies didn't seem to need to do much. All they did was look good and become rich.

Of course, now I realize that a profession, some sorts of job, is actually necessary to earn money to buy things. And along with that, I also come to terms with the fact that "yuppie" isn't an actual profession.

But had I enrolled in the college of Business and become an accountant, I would have been working for a bank or a multinational company and maybe all set to conquer the world in blazers. But instead, I finished a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and worked in industrial area far from the bustling city with their tall buildings and tiny cubicles.

There is this big certainty in my life, however, - that I wouldn't have survived the corporate world. Had I entered a bank or a multinational firm, within two years my body would just have been found decomposing in some office cubicle. Or I'll die falling down the stairs and breaking my neck because I was rushing to get somewhere in stilettos, or I just might freeze to death in the cold of a corporate air conditioning system.

But, working in an industrial plant, more specifically in petroleum industry makes my yuppiness dissolve into thin air.The blazers suddenly disappeared from my wardrobe to be replaced by simple tees. The heels transformed into flip-flops and the hair dryer mysteriously vanished. And with that, I took a vow of poverty.

My income is certainly nowhere near what it could have been had I hurled myself into the rat race. In fact, I have a sinking feeling that my entire annual income is just some bank VP's monthly tax. I can feel my toes curl up every time a gas price hike is announced. Sure I was able to buy a car, only, it's about the same age as my youngest son. And when Phil talked about what new car he is going to buy, I did my mental calculations, and I figure that maybe I can afford a new car right before cataracts kicks in from old age. But then i doubt if i can even drive it.

Naaah, I don't do that often - calculate. I try to avoid looking at my paycheck as much as possible for fear that it might lead to a depression and the cost of anti-depressant and therapy might send me over the edge. But even with calculations thrown in, I wouldn't trade lives...

Why? well on weekdays, I would wake up half an hour before I had to be at work, quickly showered, threw in a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and flip-flops. I sip my coffee in my desk as I prepare the activity for the day or write formulations of product to be blended. A quick tour of the plant at ten, then I can sit back and open my computer to read emails and news, and even write blog and read those blogs I follow.

Yes Joy O., I do work, but my break happens when I want them. And as I put down the phone after asking the canteen for snacks, I think: sometimes it just doesn't get any better than this.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Softdrinks, anyone?

Are you a soda drinker like myself? Or does your Pepsi lack pep? Is your Coke not the real thing? Well, India has the answer: a new soft drink made from cow urine.

Yes indeed, this bovine brew is in the final stages of development in India by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India's biggest and oldest Hindu nationalist group. And according to the man who made it, it will be called "gau jal", or "cow water".

Actually folks, the drink is the latest attempt by the RSS to cleanse India of foreign influence and promote its ideology of Hindutva, or Hindu-ness. You see Hindus revere cows and slaughtering them is illegal in most part of India.

But hey, you need not worry as it won't smell like urine and will be tasty too. They claim that it's going to be very healthy. It won't be like carbonated drinks and would be devoid of any toxins. Mr Prakash, the maker, said his drink, is made mainly of cow urine, mixed with a few medicinal and ayurvedic herbs. He said it would be cheap, but declined to give further details about its price or ingredients until it will be officially launched.

He insisted, however, that it would be able to compete with the American cola brands, even with their enormous advertising budgets. "We're going to give them good competition as our drink is good for mankind," he said. "We may also think of exporting it."

Hmmm.... I think I'll pass on this one!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gone, wacko?

Why does it seem harder to recognize insanity at this age? Is it because to one degree or another we are all insane?

If before we get confuse with people who can be deliriously happy one moment then get morose the next, now we know that they just aren't moody, but they are suffering from manic-depressive disorder, now more accurately (and politically correct) called bipolar disorder. And people who seem lost in another world may not be spaced out, they could be schizophrenic. While those who are particularly neat and picky are not just being difficult but could well be obsessive-compulsive.

Life seemed less complicated now as all these chemical imbalance induced behavior can be treated with therapy and pills. This is very good news for us living in the modern age – especially those in the pharmaceutical industry.

But I have always wondered though…all this little ways the mind can go whack, have these always been around? Well sometime it’s hard to tell if it’s the world or us regular folk who have gone a bit crazier through the decades. But then thinking about it, the world is as batty as it’s always been. It’s us who I think have lost our ability to cope.

You see more and more people I talk to have this general air of dissatisfaction with their lives. Something is always missing - too little money, too little time, too little joy, too little rest. The thing is, what life are we after, actually?

Oh, yes I have long given up on big life-changing question because I figure that’s what drives people nuts in the first place…all these trying to make sense of the world. But then the world doesn’t make sense and its best we just leave it at that. But somehow I think this is easier said than done as we like pondering the life changing question with some hope of going out into the world and doing life-changing things.

Somewhere along the way we have forgotten that the definition of the word exceptional does include the connotation “uncommon”, you know, something that doesn’t happen everyday. I say we’ve forgotten because we seem to be living life in anticipation of going from one heart-stopping action-packed moment to the next. But after four decades of being here, I’ve realized that it generally doesn’t work that way.

Then again if there is chemical imbalance in the brain, then trying to pound on perspective might just be as effective as trying to wish away food poisoning. I am pretty sure that happy thoughts can only go so far before they need the help of happy pills. Nowadays, a trip to the shrink can be as an everyday trip to the spa – both having to do with general well being. And it’s a welcome change to the general attitude of people. Now people understand that when someone feels inexplicably blue, it’s just some chemical going bonk.

At least there are now simple explanations for what makes a person go nuts. Soon enough, all stigma associated with psychiatric treatment will be gone. And that’s a good thing too. There’s no place for discriminating against the insane.

After all…in a world like this, aren’t we all?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tagged by Tracey.

Wow, it seemed eon since I've been here... You see, I was in the province to be with my folks during the wake and burial of my aunt Sophie. We finally laid her to rest last Sunday and since relatives from abroad came home we also had a family reunion of sorts so it was truly hectic from day one. I just flew in today and its truly heart warming to know that I've been missed. Thanks, Tracey.

So ok, since you tagged me then I had to write twenty random things about me. Here goes some facts which might interest you.

1. I love reading books, and I won't put it down until I am through with it. So imagine me reading a book while inside the blanket with a flash light on, because I hate disturbing people who wants to sleep with lights off.

2. I am scared of heights.

3. All crawling insects( worms, caterpillars, snakes, maggots, etc)creeps me out.

4. Seeing blood oozing from a wound makes me faint.

5. Sappy movies and even tv commercials could make me cry.

6. I hate mathematics.

7. I love the countryside.

8. I cannot sleep without a soft pillow to hug.

9. I love to eat ripe mango.

10. When I was in high school, I was a declaimer and had won in several competition.

11. I love riding in my scooter as I love to feel the rush of cool wind on my face.

12. My fist pet was a talking parrot.

13. My eldest son's nickname is the reverse of my name.

14. Me and my sister use to quarrel a lot when we were younger. Now we are best of friends.

15. Time is running short because I am now 46.

16. I still keep in touch with my high school friends.

17. My kids think my taste in music is rather odd, simply because I cannot keep up with the new ones.

18. I love playing in the rain when I was a kid.

19. I get exceptionally crabby when I have PMS.

20. I don't like to exercise even when I know I should.

I would like to tag Boysie of Shifting Sand, Sid of Useless Information, Ray of Angry American, Joy of Stardusts and Moonbeans, Siva of Yoga in China

Friday, February 6, 2009

Another tragic loss.

Death is always and under all circumstances a tragedy, for if it is not, then it means that life itself has become one.
Theodore Roosevelt

I hate to admit it, but I think I am now entering The Burying Years! It wasn’t long ago that we bury my brother, and now the family is again to bury another family member while just a week ago my father-in-law was also laid to rest.

Maybe I am still in denial as I am not ready to bury parents or aunts and uncles yet because I’m not ready to see them go or live in a world with them gone. But the fear is more than that, maybe it’s the manifestation of the fear of aging for after the burying years, come the dying year.

But right now, I am too numbed to think of the future. I am just too tired of the emotional and physical pain that cancer had inflicted on our family. It was just that we had become all too familiar with the pain, anxiety, astonishment and sorrow of burying a loved one who succumbed to cancer. We are all too familiar with the rituals…from diagnosis, to surgery, to treatments, to recurrence and, ultimately, to death. This was just my way of dealing with the pain.

I knew far too well what it was like to lose a love one to cancer. My grandfather died of colon cancer, then an auntie, of breast cancer, and now this auntie of lung cancer. My father is still battling colon cancer as I am writing this and only god knows when he will leave this earthly life.

There is a giant hole in my heart right now, but maybe more so with my dear cousins, Thirdy, Trish and Joem. With their mom gone, Christmas, New Years, and esp. Mother’s Day won’t be the same again. My Tito Tom will also dread the coming Valentine's Day as he has no wife to celebrate it with. The birthday of my aunt will now be a day of mournings. Thankfully, close friends and family provided unconditional sympathy, love and support that have buoyed us through the darkest hours. Through her death there was an affirmation of those bonds that join us together, ensuring that we do not suffer alone. Besides, her death only teaches us how precious life is. I am sure she wants us to laugh again, to enjoy life.

I know that coping with the death of someone you love is not an isolated journey. People cope with loss everyday all over the world, some, more tragic than others. Yet, it’s a trip we all must make on our own.

Goodbye Tita Bebing. We will never forget you…

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Etched in time.

I love watching people, and today a group of students caught my attention. They were giggling while taking pictures of themselves - clicking and then poring over the captured photo and then posing again to take some more.

Taking pictures is something we all love doing. This is especially true for Boysie, who seemed to have made photography his life’s passion. I also love the way Amy made a collage of old photographs in her coffee table - an instant conversation piece while she and friends sit down for coffee. Even Leanne’s picture of her Cover Girl certificate brought back fond memories, and Sid's old photographs tell a lot of his life story.

Cameras are fun and I give kudos to whoever invented these little devices. Imagine creating something that captures a moment in time and allows people to re-live that memory forever?

But ironically, the essence of taking a picture seemed to lose its magic as we are given the capacity to take more pictures. And when we don’t like what we have captured earlier, we can easily delete it. But when we like it, we pose for another shot as if we can travel through time. Some people even take a series of their own pictures, in the same or slightly different pose as if they can’t get enough of themselves. If a picture was worth a thousand words once, now it is worth a few megabytes of electronic data ready to be discarded when no longer needed.

Cameras were invented because people want to relive the past captured by one brief moment in time. However, modern technology now allows us to capture more than just a single moment. We snap photos mindlessly, totally forgetting that they used to be special. We have forgotten what the inventor of the camera wanted it to do, which was to enable people to breathe life into their memories.

When we take pictures, we should make it a point to capture something that glistens with emotion. When we take a picture of a man and his dog or a beautiful sunset, we tell ourselves to be mindful that the memory being captured cannot be repeated and no one can alter the fact that it happened. Time waits for no one. The emotions you felt while playing with your pet, getting an award, or being with classmates during class reunions, you can only burn in your memory — and pictures help bring forth old feelings. But we cannot reenact exactly what happened in the past, and so we cannot experience truly the same emotion twice.

I even told some friends that if my house will be on fire, the first thing I am going to save are my photo albums. Those that will remind me of my kids first haircut, their first steps, the growing up years, special moments, my travels, etc. Yes, those that will bring delicious recollection, the kind I would love to come back to in my twilight years, when I am in need of comfort and cheers.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much are you willing to pay to relive a memory?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What's the big deal?

It will be Valentine Day soon. In fact, weeks before January folded up, most stores are already displaying their valentine d├ęcor and gift items. All of a sudden the market is flooded with chocolates of all shapes and sizes. And red has become the most important color.

Ok, I admit there’s something cheesy and commercial about teddy bears holding hearts, singing Hallmark cards and foil-wrapped chocolates shaped like roses.

But why do women make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day? If you’re a man reading this, then I am glad you asked.

There’s only one perfect reason - because we deserve it.

There are some guys, who can happily spend Valentine’s Day solo just watching ESPN with a six-pack. But for women, facing the “holiday” on our own can suck. So, when Valentine’s Day rolls around and we have a guy in our lives, you bet your ass we’re going to celebrate.

Also because it brings back those early–in–the-relationship rush. Even if you used to be that guy who waited outside your girlfriend’s bedroom window holding a boom box over your head to show your love, (yeah, I fall for John Cussack too) chances are, your idea of romance has backslide since then. So, for all those men out there whose most romantic gesture in recent history has been to let the wife commandeer the remote control, Valentine’s Day serves as a wake-up call. It’s a reason for men to remind us why we fell in love with them in the first place.

And also because we just need something to gloat about to our friends and officemate.

Women love to talk and compare things among themselves and each one wants to out do the other. So even when our husbands or boyfriends aren’t doing well all season, but had upped his ante on February 14, then we will be bragging about it all week. If you send us flower in our office, we will display it to our co-worker. If you surprise us with a dinner reservation in a restaurant, we will talk about it in our Facebook or Myspace update, or better yet, write about it in our blog.

Now think about it, do you really want the girls in the next cubicle show your wife/gilfried up?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Baby boomer, no more.

It seemed just like yesterday when my boys are still hanging on to my skirt. I have to give them a little nudge to make them let go. Sending them to school the first time and hear them cry when I have to leave, made me panic. Oh yes Amy, I do understand how you feel!

We Filipinos keep our children close to home. We do not allow our kids to leave home to live on their own unless they had gotten hitched. In fact, some even stay with their parents after they had married and are raising children of their own.

My eldest will be in his 20’s soon and my 2nd son 18. A year and two from now, both will be graduating from school. Society considers them officially adults and even when they will still be living with me, they shouldn’t think that I will continue to take care of them as I did when they were children. I understand that the world will not treat my children the way I do. So I have to be harsher on them, urged them to interact and look for a jobs.

I don’t want to give them money when they asked for it because they will not learn to value it, and they won’t be grateful. I don’t want them to get into the habit and an attitude that I am suppose to give them money when they want it.

I didn’t have an easy life myself. I depended on no one to take care of my needs. It takes hard work and sacrifice to get me to where I am now. This life’s battle gave me muscle and strength to face the world and I would like my kids to develop those muscles. Not that I will throw them to the wolves, but there is a difference between helping and doing everything for them.

My job as a parent is not to teach my kids how to be a child for life. My job is to teach them how to be a responsible adult. By teaching then responsibility and consequences for their actions, I am therefore preparing them for life. Although I admit it may take a little more time as my kids had about fifteen to twenty years habit of me taking care of their every need.

If only the future doesn't look so bleak...


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