Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

She's At It Again!

if not love, gratitude will do. to just say thank you and mean it, if you can't bear to say i love you. because nonchalance hurts. as if my efforts are useless. and, i am being measured, again, in roles, that are impossible for me to do, now. and for which the life i led before, as a single breadwinner and a single mother, i needed help to fulfill. a heartfelt thank you will do but it seems, even this, your selfish cruel self could not do.

Monday, August 30, 2010

One Guilty Mom

i am not ok after seeing my daughter cry, in front of me, alone, huddled in a chair, looking at me with pleading eyes, longing for an embrace. we could talk for hours over cyberspace, play hide and seek, read, spell, or just make funny faces, sing silly songs (like, 'kulangot ka ba kasi? kasi? you're really hard to get...'), or before this crying moment, just scream. scream to death as in! but perhaps these are just pure substitutes to being close physically and just embracing, while watching tv or just lying down the sofa, doing nothing. i could do no more in cyberspace but relate to my child but i could not get through her, not the way that embraces and physical touch do. my daughter needs me physically too.


i have been to justifying all along. justifying why i should be away. justifying my ambitions. justifying why nurturing my self is necessary in my journey of being me. but i have not admitted yet, till now, that i feel guilty all along. shadowing my confidence is guilt since i made the decision to take the phd now that i'm already a mother. now that someone else, my daughter awfully needs me. but like a bridge that has been crossed, i am too far away now from that bridge to ever make back on time, to embrace Yaman. i could only go back after going through so many hills, good that now, today, i am only several hills away, these hills to be crossed in only 30 days to get to the penultimate bridge back to my Yaman.

i am so filled with guilt as pushing towards my ambition entails a lot of personal sacrifice. personal sacrifice that i may never know how, is taking a toll on my daughter. for what would a 4-year old kid be thinking? looking at me with those soulful eyes, and later brimming with tears? what is she thinking? what is she feeling about our separation? her loss of me? is she thinking i'm abandoning her? is she thinking, how could mom leave me here, all alone, with no one caring enough to embrace me? so silly as it may look, i was hugging tightly the laptop screen while she was crying, all along, imagining that it was her. this is all i can do to let her know how much i want her too. i love my daughter so so much but this is a different kind of love i'm giving her; a love that perhaps could not be understood by a 4-year old because it entails a lot of leaving and un-physical love.  it makes me feel very very guilty.

so tonight back in bed, i will be deep in thought again. wishing that i was rich enough to bring my daughter here. wishing that i will win the lotto tomorrow so i could have enough show money for her and my mom and we won't struggle financially while they're here in case. wishing i would have been an ausaid scholar who could enjoy family privileges and raise their families here in subsidy. wishing that i was in a different world. back in our homey bedroom in naga, with rats occasionally scurrying up the ceiling and lizards still on the windowscreen.  putting to sleep my Yaman as she lies on my left, content on her pillow and secured that her mommy is just beside her. perhaps, i could also wish away this guilt too, find assurance in a future that has yet to form in this cold, white concrete in front of me. 

Thanks to www.123rf.com for the pic.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Us

Us is more than the sum of you and me
transcending our faults in forgetting
reminding us that in even the unlovable
in ourselves is not reason to back down
the mountains are for climbing
the onrush of waves to be braved

there is always, always room for forgiving
amid silences meant to be endured
these are not empty promises we keep
as every day we go on, go on, to be
more than our individual selves
into this union of forever is Us

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Journal Articles: A Different Reading

my mistake, which i just realized today after an awful long while, is thinking that i can read journal articles as i read any book of fiction, english or filipino. i would tell myself, in one sitting for instance, that today i will just read this stash of articles on my desk. read them without note-taking. read them while fighting off the urge to interact with the text and write on the sides, highlight key words in green, box the text or line them with my crooked usual style. read them with the air of nonchalance, throwing one article after the next to the floor once i finish. but such interaction with journal articles is a sloppy way of reading for an ordinary mortal  like me.

to read a journal article is to not only absorb but also, and perhaps more importantly, to dissociate one's self from the author, answer the question 'what is this bloke really saying, in terms of her/ his own understanding of the truth as she/he sees it'; then 'do i agree or disagree and why?' then 'how does her/his arguments fit in with my own arguments?' then 'where is the place of my arguments amid her/ his arguments and others' then 'where and what is my voice?'

ergo, reading journal articles takes much more than reading fiction where one can just literally sit, relax and  be borne up by an exhilarating and refreshing piece of writing or be brought down with a thud of disappointment. you may commune with the characters, cry with this one or two, but at the end of it, there is no expected participation at your end, unless of course you're reviewing it.

ergo, i could not just read a journal article and expect to 'get' 'it' in one sitting. thus, as much there is an effort in transcribing, in organizing, analyzing and writing, so should there be separate focused energy on reading the works of authors within the discipline and whose rigor in producing demands the same rigor and patience in the understanding from their readers.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Scratching the Surface

my favorite color is green but i have more reds in my wardrobe, and green the least.

i am feminine but i seem to hate pink the most.

all my house clothes are in dark colors (red, blue, maroon, black, brown)

i love tennis grand slams but can hardly slam a tennis ball pass the net.

i've read a hundred books and novellas but forgotten almost all in plot and character.

but i remember movie lines like 'no matter how you teach them, they are who they are' in innocent moves.

forgetting extends to all  reports and proposals i've written. i have to be reminded to remember.

there is no author i don't like except john grisham.

it is only now that i'm starting to be political.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Last Cookie

i finished the last of a chocolate-covered cookie today. one of several attempts to cut down on food that would do me no good in the long term. like pork fat, specifically from spareribs cooked adobo-style. after boiling under low heat for 30min, the pork pieces are further fried in oil. once browned, adobo sauce is poured into the mix for a hearty cholesterol-laden meal.

i'm not sure how many years would there be left to be officially 'off' fatty and sweet foods. i mean the day when medical diagnosis would confirm my not only having a heart problem but diabetes as well. not just dementia and psychosis, in my father's line, you name it, we have it --- high blood, diabetes, lupus, asthma, and cancer. suicide though never (knock on wood) as it is perhaps the predilection of the valenzuelas to die their existence through. sleep deaths, very many (around 5), the latest a 20ish cousin from iriga city. i have long predicted that i will die in my sleep.

but so far, the latest APE taken last june in naga city says, surprisingly, that i am within normal levels of cholesterol, uric acid, and sugar. the ovaries and uterus are ok, fit enough to be pregnant again.  the breasts are the only problem, one that i choose to ignore for now. just for now. and perhaps my bones. just a little physical exertion through weeding and packing, for instance, stresses my bones to no end. this morning, i woke up feeling queasy on my left side. my wrists, both left and right, are painful from transcribing (and blogging?).

lately, my body's getting much of my attention, as if i never cared about it. but i have, and still do. i just never have been serious. have never sustained the effort thus my 140+-lb weight still, after yoga, herbalife, slimmers world, the 3-day diet, and even the 7-day diet. still, the food i like are oily, fatty, sweet, and ultimately rich in flavor in soups and sauces. i will die knowing that i've given in to cravings, survived yoyo dieting, and now just trying to make peace with food and lifestyles once treated as my enemies. by choice, i'm giving up not only chocolate covered cookies for good.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Amazing Yaman

yaman says, 'mommy, if you're here, you would have been cuddling me to sleep'. that's very true. and i would do more than that. i will caress her hair, smell the scent she had since being a baby, and i would be filled with amazement, how this child grew to be like this. once a little seed inside mommy's tummy and now 104m tall already. fond of drawing, writing, reading and just about anything that little hands could do. and we would sing. her songs. those she sings while drawing, while playing with stickers, the one she's humming now while drawing in front of her cyber-mom. i will forever be amazed. God didn't give me the life i want when i was 28. but, here, witnessing the miracle, the treasure that is Yaman, He surely gave me the fulfilling happiness i could have only understood, now at 39.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our August 23


this day marks the end of complacency
for a nascent suddenly unreachable president
for a police force unruly tested by a global media
for a high court corrupted from within

i mourn the death of eight chinese nationals
and the deaths of the future for their families
i mourn the death of the disgraced decorated policeman
waving his fate away with so much weary sadness

and on this day
i would have been mourning too, personally
if not for the One Up There
which propelled a plane to safety
and saved a man named Michael
for the second time in eight years

on this day
all our fates entwine
the end of innocence
the beginning of pain
and tireless gratitude nonetheless
the moon shows her lonely light
even as the sun shines

Thanks to www.123rf.com for the pic.

Monday, August 23, 2010

They have Prepared Me for You

FATED has been waiting in the wings
for so many years now
waiting to be written after so much pain, tears, disappointments
it took us just too long
perhaps because it's a different kind of love this time
it is deeper and more robust
in the realm of the spiritual, intellectual, emotional
like we're compost--taking on the dirt and mixing all those sordid details of our lives
alone in the cold dark of the earth
and later to be tossed and turned with dark rich soil to be alive again
that's why i embraced and kissed the dark pieces of my life before i said goodbye
i own them as much though i'm ready to let go
they have 'prepared' me for you
and yours, for me as well
that's why we're so alive and richer now
we thrive and we are able to give life back

(Lightworker to ShadowMan 02.02.2010)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wifey's Away

Lightworker's on the other side of  the world---
can't blog as there's no internet connection
at a friend's house where she is staying for the night

Shadowman worries as Lightworker narrates of how
a persistent headache lingers from this morning till now---
which took her quite sometime to return the message,
the topic moves further to how some friends succumb
to illness, to comatose, to death all occurring on their sleep

then she volunteers to give some names of friends and housemates
for Shadowman to contact in the event she doesn't reply or answers
a practical suggestion but making Shadowman perturbed

now she is struggling to burp but can't.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Needing

it's not enough like this
not enough to witness life
on the other side
i need the live one here
steaming desiring
for the grip of real hands
the sweetness of real kisses
the heat of bodies surrendering
i need you here

Thanks to www.123rf.com for the pic.

Friday, August 20, 2010

To the Very Last

thank you for believing my ShadowMan
for being my strength, the brave one who faced my father
the gallant one who walked with me from school and made sure i am home safe;
the decent one who let me be on my choices and never interfered, but just endured;
the steady one who braved his own choices and faced the consequences without compromising himself;
the real one whose love for me is far deeper, far richer beyond experience,
and while you are there, i know you're here in the very air that surrounds,
in life that throbs, in the very ground i stand on
in you there is completion, a reconciling of all that's missing in me
these is all YOU are to me, my ShadowMan
i'm not letting go
i love you to the very last

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What is Your Sawi Song?

what is your sawi song? the song carrying the pain in your heart, until you are awash if not tears, then just memories of a great love gone astray? what strikes that wound in you? wounds that have blistered, scarred and dried up but just the beat of this song reveals still the open gaping wound hurting? what makes you leave the present enough to relive the past, a past which despite so much cursing, could not be forgotten? what song unmasks you? tearing down that armor to reveal the meek hurting soul, no stranger to weeping in dark corners? find that song and find yourself. no longer the hero but still brave. do not be afraid to face the silence.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In the Land of Forgiving

perhaps i've changed. or perhaps this is just one testament to my luck of finding the right lifetime partner, at the right time and at the right age. at 39, it's never too late to start again, never too late to strike it out although there are conditions. it's just too late to just try, it's just too late to just fail...again. but sometimes it just needs more than courage to keep on moving forward, and not entertain the devil of self-preservation. i think humility is the key. to unload unrighteous anger and say, yes, i misunderstood; yes, you are worth listening to; yes, i've been carrying hurts from wrong assumptions. He on the other side makes the difference. and as if to remind me, that man on the other side took the beating of my words as courageously as he took the pain of 26 years. this man has never changed at all. lucid despite the lack of sleep and him, hurting too from my earlier silence, and now my words. it takes two to forgive, to forgive another and one's self as well. there is no loss, only renewal.

Thanks to www.123rf.com for the pic.




Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Our True Natures

 the skies taught me limitless forgiveness
the sun burning faith
the rains the splendor of giving
and winds of passing change
thunder budding inspiration
lightning the call to action

snow for the grace to age
storms of rightful rage
for droughts to mark the end of things
deluge for fresh beginnings
nothing wrong with the weather
there is no climate change
it's us who stopped remembering
the synch of our bodies and the seasons
glorious death and life
in the elements of nature
buried within, awaiting resurrection

Thanks to www.123rf.com for the pic.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rx Difference

if there is one aspect where we're totally opposites, it's in the way we approach our health problems. i rarely take medicines now; now done away with weekly ventolin intakes since developing a sort of 'immunity' (knock on wood) to asthma. every day i take a 2 tablets of fern c and that's it. for headaches, i use pojo, a chinese menthol stick rubbed on the temples and i pull my hair from all sides of my head (as in sabunot).  for dysmenorrhea, i walk and do standing wall push-ups. for dried lips and skin, i use virgin coco oil. for poor eyesight, i stopped wearing glasses and just trained my eyes to see naturally. i only take medicines for special cases like UTI. 

but ShadowMan is a walking arsenal of medicines: EyeMo for itchy eyes; nasal spray for his sinusitis etc. and as he has just corrected me now, he no longer takes cough meds although he takes four different types of meds now for unusual readings of his heart, and blood. for any ailment, he takes meds.

no need to worry. 

but we're ok of course.  and we'll stay this way for the next 50 years, at least.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weeds

i finally got to weed today. the last day, the 'date-line' according to the OC.

no choice. donning a black pullover from last night, in socks and rubber shoes, jogging pants (would i be out jogging?) and gloves, i went out the back and began the sitting-pulling-raking-sweeping up routine. but as i was doing so, i couldn't help but feel pity over the ant colonies whose environments i'm destroying (yeah, i have sympathy for ants not people); the worms and what have you creatures in the soil as i rake up soil after soil to dislodge weeds from their moorings. and i wonder, how weeds could be so tenacious, as i struggle against a bunch whose roots have melded with the undergrowth. it was so tough that however i pull, it just wouldn't budge. and once more i wondered, if weeds are undesirable, how come they still survive? how come they have defied the law of nature; that is, that the less you are wanted, then the less you become. it's the natural way of dying. but here i am, contending with a green force that just wouldn't stop, just because they're not liked, and because they're not beautiful.


so my weeding became a humbling experience as i went from first tree, to the second, the third, and the fourth. along the way, i was murmuring 'tabi po' or 'i'm sorry' to those ants, bugs, small minute earthlings i could not see, but still like me, deserve a place on earth, deserve a place called home. i saw one alalaso; no, two! and i let them be, alone with the weeds they were eating. i was told by the OC to pick up all the fruits. but i left two and a smaller fresher ones for the magpies to eat. to clean my world, i have to destroy theirs which is really unfair.

and those weeds. those grand weeds. i pulled them out with care, one by one. but i could just have patted them and let them be. but perhaps they know. they know that it's just surface pruning. that they will survive this earth longer than me. and those uprooted, perhaps it doesn't matter, because there's too many of them to keep the line going. they will win their battles surely than i with mine. the weeds and earth are one. holding each other for stability. holding each other to keep green alive. in front of me, is real life, in its wildness!


i cleared the weeds from four fruit trees, the left corner of the backyard from where i stand. in two hours i was finished. two hours that taught me that, indeed, it is the fittest that survives.  but the fittest is not always the strongest, the biggest, or the hardest. it is also the thin, the small, the rough, the ugly and the undesirable with a heart that just won't die.

a little later, the OC came up, left the 'Weed Killer' (weedicide) by the pavement. looks at me, points to it and nods. i look at her and she thinks, i know what to do.

i know what to do.

with all weed casualties in the bin, i headed inside the house with the rake, the dust pan, and the Weed Killer.

i am leaving my weeds in peace.


Thanks to www.123rf.com for the pic.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Moments like these

moments like these ought to be seized 
when the elusive momentum floods you  
when there seems to be no stopping you just go ahead 
for writing is not something we just push on and pull off at our delight 
it is rather an inspiration, a once in a blue moon experience
an extraordinary moment to await

but not for you Lightworker
for you are born with a penchant for paper and pen
whose childhood is no stranger to lines, paragraphs and compositions
whose depth can be likened to the abyss 
and whose clarity is a gift from heaven

and you are into it at this very moment
and ShadowMan is attempting to write on your behalf
and he finds it consoling to just do it for you
to be all things for you
in whatever capacity he is for you
and this is all for you... 



Friday, August 13, 2010

Writing...umph!

i hope it's worth missing yaman for a day. i hope it's worth having dinner at 1115pm. i hope it's worth missing one hot night with the hubby. i hope it's worth more fieldwork trips back home. it's really hard to write about nothing you know so little about. when there's enough time to read and absorb. when you wis you had a more diverse arsenal to describe the extent of something: capacity, capability, extent? ugh! perhaps if it's not worth it, it's still worth the try. i'll sleep happy pa rin.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Slice to Awaken

it's my 3rd chicken. or the third time i cut a whole chicken. mom buys chicken either half or whole. the former, she'd ask for, 'kalahating manok'. so that's how i do it too. since this is australia, whole chicken's the norm.

it was not my mom who taught me how to cut a chicken in piexes. it was www.youtube.com, in particular, Mom Jr. of course her cuts are american because she's american (the accent dear watson!) so i have my own style, the filipino way of cutting which means minimum waste. so i keep everything --- skin, bones, neck, and my favorite, the puwet.

the puwet is where it all started. not having a larger knife, i was finding a way to cut crosswise the piece where the puwet is attached although it's mostly bone. so opting to cut it via the flesh on the side, the right hand holding the knife grazed downwards; accidentally slicing the middle finger of my left which was holding the whole piece on the side. shuk and there! i thought it was just a minor slice, just over the skin although i felt the knife go a little bit deeper. within seconds, blood was pouring down my finger. i hit a knuckle so the bleeding won't stop.

many paper towels after and the reliable lampin (yaman's) from the philippines, i was able to hold the bleeding at bay but not while washing utensils, plates, bowls and cooking pans. i was cooking and having lunch prior. so imagine me washing with only my right hand. the bleeding was still on around 4pm. i think i cut myself close to 3pm. so i had to rummage through my stuff --- aha! johnson's band aid. a few minutes after, ShadowMan called and instructed me to swab coco oil around and over the wound because it has healing properties. yes doc! yes, he's so everything to call from the philippines just because of wifey's clumsiness...

 The cute cut that could change a day and one's perspective...

 Still bleeding past 4pm. Makulit...like someone I really really know...

around 5pm, i noticed time has passed and i haven't done anything phd-related. and what a fool am i, i thought. of course! you have to stop once in a while. take on those little needs reminding me that the phd is just a teeny weeny bit of my existence although sometimes it tends to...overwhelm.

sometimes we encounter these paradoxes. no matter how much we regard one thing as major, as the great rock to bear in this present time, reality in its mystery comes back at us, strikes us in small little cuts, slices,... to remind us --- hey, you matter above all. not the selfish you, but the you who has to have some dose of perspective once in a while.

so here i am, in a cluttered room, with clothes left to tipig and a table surrounded by abubut, setting the phd aside, for a while. i should have seen it. when jane emailed me this morning, agreeing to moving tomorrow's appointment for tuesday next week and saying --- don't work too hard; of waking up 'late' at 921am; of the rain delaying my visit to the shops. the phd exists, it will hound, it will harass but I am the Goddess of it all because I hold Time in my hands; with cuts and slices sometimes. it would take a slice to awaken me of my magnanimity. above all, I am above my phd.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another Lame Excuse

i notice every time i work at home, non-stop, without the possibility of me bumping to any housemate along the corridor, throughout the day, i would lose my voice. like now. i'm hoarse as my vocal cords were without exercise for the past 8 hours.  it's an effort now just saying hi to yaman, even demi moore sounds better than me. the horror of doing a phd!  my writing never keeps up with the excuses.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And There Is Him


tearing my hair
on what to blog
this man in front of me
his hair gone where
they were before
his built a little heavier
lines on the side of his eyes
but still
he remains to be him
never have i seen such strength
a steely, persistent resolve 
an unpretentious kindness
insights far from what i could reach
and wisdom known only by those
who have known and risen above despair
this man who loves me
his first, in-between, and last
never could i own a privilege such as this
to share forever, in content and bliss
to mirror my soul in such likeness
find the one true soul 
to end and begin with
i am him, he is me
the subject of a blog
never far away
just here

Monday, August 9, 2010

Detours on a Monday

i blame it on the chill. 643am awaking, and with the cold outside, i slept right back in. gone was the plan to wake up at 7am, to walk to school around 845, have a 15-min breakfast until 945 and start transcripts around 10. i've skipped writing classes altogether. and there in bed, i was until 830. after salutations and the usual breakfast of cereals, i started transcribing around 10am. about the same time as i would, if i ever went to uni. in economics, this is called opportunity cost. in day-to-day language, it's called justifying laziness.

i could work both at home and in uni. but now the transcribing's done here since i discovered F8, the shortcut key for transcribing panasonic audios without showing the digital settings on screen. for my small acer laptop, the traditional clicks to stop and pause just wouldn't do as it steals a lot of time for transcribing. i have to stop to pause and click which is about 5 seconds to every 10 words written. before F8, i had to leave for uni everyday where there, a pc would a bigger screen allows the splitting of windows: one for the word doc and the other, the digital recorder. saved from these hassles by F8, i had the privilege of working at home.

now, however, i miss uni. which in economics lingo again means diminishing marginal utility or in every day lingo translates to 'boredom' at home. working on the same brown desk, having nothing to traverse but the kitchen and my room could stifle one's bearings, other than caused the storage again of numerous fat deposits because of frequent sitting and virtually no exercise, except for the morning ritual of sun salutations. i am an exile in this house till tuesday, one more day before i see uni. 

getting essentially quirky as this could be attributed to my phd. yes, i'm taking it all out on my phd. because i won't be this crazy if have not subjected myself to this 3-year ordeal in the first place. but i'm bearing it. and i hope you're bearing with me too. lazy on a monday and eternally crazy (perhaps with or without the phd)...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Yaman and Jastin

yaman is so advanced for her age. she now likes 'jastin' as in justin bieber of 'baby' fame (eyes rolling). i've thought before that i missed a lot by having a baby at such a late age. however, the way that children think right now, and their preferences in colors, movies, clothes and music, i would reckon that they're catching up well to their adult counterparts. at 3, yaman was already watching 'no country for old men' with me. she does not care about the plot but instead, likes the icy cold demeanor of the protagnonist chigurgh, which she says has, a 'dora' haircut he he. just now, she wrote over skype 'yaman and jastin ar beautiful'. ok, puppy crush then. what would we hold in our hands, huh, Shadowman, when she's 18?

Thanks to www.123rf.com for the pic.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Alone, Pregnant, Again?

i will not be pressured to getting pregnant. just because i'm about to be 40 and in danger should i perhaps have another child. getting pregnant is no easy feat, and for someone who got pregnant without any man watching my back, holding my hand or even massaging my shoulders, i really have a right to say, 'tell me about it'. so perhaps i should tell you about it. what it takes to be pregnant alone, in the literal sense of the word.
 
1. it means having to work double time, to earn double time. before you know it, 7 months have passed and with my salary, it's difficult to make do with one employer only. i remember having more  than one sideline then. and as i had the luxury of working at home for 2 months when a chicken pox epidemic broke out in the office i'm working at, let's just say, timing worked on my favor.

2. it means having to hold down your tears in those teary-eyed moments of conception when you wish a stronger hand was holding yours in these cases: seeing your baby float and make 'pasikat' during the first ultrasound (yaman was fluttering her fingers at me would you believe at close to 3 months!); during the baby's first kick; those minor pains when you're 5-6 months on the way and the only thing you can do is raise your legs up to relieve the pain

3. it means having to raise your head a little higher and appear nonchalant in the OB's waiting room where rows beside you are couples and couples. then for consolation, you say, 'we're a couple after all, my baby and me!'. but after awhile you'll get used to it. although i make sure then of being #1 in my OB's list of appointments every 4th sunday of the month, i still couldn't avoid being with couples. and later, there were single moms too (sans their husbands) although i rarely met single women like me.

4. it means having to pre-empt office gossip about your bulging tummy by just telling it as it is. i did not hold a press conference or issue a memo about my pregnancy. without further ado, i went to the hrd office and asked about sss maternity leave benefits. when the hrd asst asked why in return, i told her that i'm preggy. it so happened that that office was the abode of all the gossipheads in the office so i sort of killed a lot of hawks with one hit. after that, they left me in peace.

5. this means having to summon all the self-esteem left after the heartbreaking accusations, and believe me, one can still afford to squeeze a cup of pride from a battered tattered heart. although there was much to cry for, i forced myself to look at the brighter side --- to smile and be thankful for better reaons. of going home to a peaceful home; of being attended and loved by a doting manang who could choose to leave me but never did; of working then in an office a few walks away from the office, relieved from traffic; of having then a warm and understanding boss who was also like a father to me; of friends near and far away reminding me always of how strong i am and how strong they are too; of my dear sister who had to go all the way from naga to manila to help me buy baby clothes and accessories; and my mom who cried for me silently but accepted me nonetheless

6. it means finding one's hope in prayer for in the face of all fate's cruelty and unkindness at that time, the One Up There showed His mighty grace and love in all the people surrounding me, and never left my side in those trying times. with what i went through, someone asked me if i ever thought of suicide. to my horror i said no! why should i ever, and kill my child! suicide never crossed my mind just as death never showed any sign during the june 2008 flashflood in iloilo.  my routine, every day, in the evening after having dinner is, i'd cry then i'll pray. after that, i'm okay. i never had trouble sleeping during my 9 months of pregnancy perhaps because i was taken care of by a force stronger than the disappointment and hurt the world could muster.

although my pride has been restored and i could proudly say i survived these 9 months well; still, i do not want to undergo those extreme conditions again. i don't want to get pregnant alone again, and a single mother at that. mostly, i don't want to get pregnant, alone, and in a foreign land, separated from my family and people i hold close to my heart. now i demand the most ideal of conditions and nothing less than being secure, doted, and loved by someone, now, stronger than i am. i demand heaven this time. is it much to ask?

Danke to www.123rf.com for the pic.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Disastrous Adobo

i cooked a disastrous adobo that in the end, i had to improvise by pouring dissolved rice flour in it, to neutralize the very sourness of the dish caused by too much vinegar and too much soy sauce (3/4 cup each). i coughed so much on the first taste. i rarely cook for anyone for the fear that i might down people with food poisoning. but thank God, my first and only public show was during steph's dimsum party around december last year. my 'launching dish' was this seafood fresh vietnamese spring rolls that, surprisingly, was a resounding success enjoyed no less by salma, the kid mascot of the Asia Research Centre. then on my visits to manila, i cooked chicken tinola once for ShadowMan which was, well, eat-able at best.

the greatest fear i have is downing people with food poisoning because of the food i cook. i would probably exile myself to siberia should this happen, or to ulas, just to be realistic. i do not intend to be a great cook. my simple dream is to be able to cook tinola, adobo, sinigang, paksiw and nilaga like my mom does. my mom cooks these in a way that you won't need any maggi cube to take out the taste of chicken, pork, beef, and fish. amid the taste of fish sauce, soy sauce, tamarind soup base, vinegar and salt, their natural taste stand out. that's it. that's my dream. so cooking a disastrous adobo is really a setback. if i could not make a decent adobo, then what else can i cook? if identity could be found in cooking, how bad a Filipina am i?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Death by Waiting

my landlady-housemate is such an OC that last monday, she had to email us all three housemates about our duties in house cleaning and weeding (the downside of having such a large backyard) when she herself set the deadline on aug 15. aug 15! august 15 is two weeks away! two weeks away and i don't see myself running away from all that i have to do. no disease will come and eat me in the next two weeks. and aug 15 will always be aug 15. i don't see any political event or any papal edict changing the gregorian calendar anytime soon. right now, i'm being bombarded with texts by a husband who's so far away, the distance i know is hurting us. pero isa rin ito. can't wait for me not texting back while i'm transcribing --- ugh!


so the virtue is in waiting.

before, i used to have a problem with waiting. with patience. like i could hear the ticking of the clock in each passing day. i don't get late in appointments and very apologetic should i be. i would bite the tips of my fingers, get fidgeting just waiting for late dates, late friends, late letters, late news. getting out of my impatience is the reason why i stopped wearing watches in 2001. i wanted time to fleet by without me noticing it. but still i'm early for my appointments and i still wait for late dates, late friends, late letters, late news. but gone the biting, the fidgeting. there must be reasons why the other side could not come on time, sickness is indeed forgivable, snail mail indeed gets lost, and news get buried over the grapevine. there means much more than getting what you want. and it is in allowing things to unfold in their own time, not to your liking time.

i do hope people will learn to wait, and in the process, trust. to trust that chores will be done, texts will be answered, and not getting what they want, when they want it is also tantamount to letting others find their time, do what it is and must be important with their time while on the other side, we wait. perhaps that is also how God is with us. in His infinite wisdom, he does not give us what we want because of other connecting circumstances that need to be finished or that need flourishing for the wants in our lives to materialize. And in our wait, He is not withholding but allowing for the perfect moments for events to come together and work to the fulfillment of our desires.

And if our waiting is worthless, and we don't get want we want, then we die anyway. it's the sentence that we impose on our fragile hoping selves. like the accused about to face the gallows, may we learn to accept the sentence and bravely face defeat in darkness. 

so to my landlady-housemate, if i should die before aug 15, then she'd better do the weeding. 

Thanks to www.123rf.com for the pic.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Path I Take With You

it's the news that gave my heart wings, i soared. everything turned bright white. suddenly, the transcript was easier to write along while listening. suddenly it mattered not that i started working around 2pm after the grant proposal. it matters not the waiting, with the end, or might i say, the beginning within sight. not only was my face smiling, but my whole being. if i could only shout it out! facebook was only a click away --- i had to restrain myself from crying it out on my wall for only my friends to see.

 
i took the walk home, under a gentle silent night, the stars in place, not even a wisp of a cloud bothering the austere dark sky. i am at peace with my world as inside i am singing, my humming content. thankful for that wily yet forgiving and just woman called fate. amid all the detours and waylaying, i'm here on track, about to begin the journey of journeys. i know not what lies ahead. what matters is i am with you.

Thanks to www.123rf.com for the pic.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Horizontal Day

on days like these, i am slumped on the chair, hands folded just below my navel, thinking, grasping at today's events, looking for an inspiration or a unique circumstance which would define my day, and make it in the blog.

i want to write why i am leaving loris but thought against it lest i sound presumptuous or even discriminatory. i want to write about ShadowMan and his waiting on the other line but realize, this is just not the time to talk about his patience. i want to write about yaman doing maths and why i'm torn between keeping her at the naga-based montessori school where she is allowed to flourish against a possible school in pasig which might rule against her enrolling in an advanced grade given her age, but no, it's far too far ahead to plan. i want to write about my amazement with the F8 shortcut key for transcribing panasonic audio tapes; but i am too easily amazed, it may not be that amazing after all to my readers. then i want to write about this devil of a man with a holy name, one of my friend's ex, but he is so bad an animal, he no longer deserves any space here.

events today are so 'horizontal', nothing stands out but nevertheless, every one of them deserves writing about, even for just a one liner. so as janis joplin ended her live rendition of the silly feel-good song 'mercedes benz', so i would say --- that's it, he he he he

Monday, August 2, 2010

Golden Girl Dreaming

i am feeling the mortality of my bestfriends. yesterday, when janty told me about a planned endoscopy on her next week, i wondered how serious could her stomach problem be. she felt perhaps the same with the breast ultrasound scans i sent her last june. then i realize how our conversations, not just her but how those with my best buddies here have been permeated with discussions of health issues - one's irregular periods, back problems and evident arthritis, high blood and arrythmia, bouts with diabetes, and even vertigo. then i wonder, in this age where cancers appear to be airborne already, would i ever grow old with my friends? would we get to share letters when we're 60, or yes, invade skype and facebook chats? kir with teleporting be possible then?  will i have some dear old friend to reminisce high school with, the liberating college years, the dream that was my masters in 2000, or just the unforgettable dreariness of perth amid the beauty of swan river? i have a beautiful family and i have ShadowMan but the rise and fall and plateauing of my life are a witness to me and my friends, and our shared lives.  we are a product of our times. our biologies threatened in all fronts, in the age of diet fads, vegetarian and PETA-inspired eating, pilates and yoga, botox and dr. belo,and even skin whitening you can drink. and the emotional baggage, the weight of not conforming, of always being told we're not at par with other's expectations, of achieving too much and being happy too little, of being told we are the one's at fault. i still want to be a golden girl, surrounded by my golden girls.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

9:05 PM

yes our love is enough
it is even enough to weather any storm
of unbelief, cynicism, contempt, hate
i believe in life that is governed by love and dreams
i believe in sacrifice, in risking ones very dear life for the beloved

i believe in you
i believe in us