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, April 30, 2013

Send Me One Line

sometime ago, i fancied a man who had smiling eyes, driving a white car with plate number UBS 419. to him the song 'send me one line', i especially hum. after so many, now in my 40s and with a seven year old-daughter, i still get amused to how naive my heart can really be. indeed a hopeless romantic that love can blossom between people incidentally seated beside each other in church, that one can sustain interest by memory, and can capture hearts by a song. naive naive naive. only in my 40s has there been clarity. i am just too old to cry again

Monday, April 29, 2013

Body Talk

the health is still sensitive. yesterday, fancied orange and passionfruit soda made in mineral water. had more than two cups i think. this morning, i failed 'to go'. not as expected. the only time i've splurged over soda drinks and still...on a better note, a body that reacts adversely to junk food like this is in better shape. it means that after disciplining myself on good eating habits, any diversion from the normal is significantly noted by my body. so sya vitti. you can't go back to the past. you have to aim to eat healthy and smart as long as you are breathing.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shaving, Yet Again

women do not seem to have the license to a shaved head. i have not only been asked whether i'm a cancer survivor or whether i am contributing to some cause like breast cancer research for which women's groups have thrown support by sponsoring head-shaving events for women.  this week, an IT guy went up to me, while i was about to go to the toilet to wash my dishes, whether i have a hair loss problem and whether shaving is a way of coping with it. of course i said no. then he countered, then that must be some sort of fashion for you. no again, i said. i just like it. just that. i just like it. his daughter has a hair loss problem so he thought if i had one, maybe i would know what to advise. yeah right. what more can he expect? i've shaved my head alright. would he advise the same to his daughter. what is indeed wrong with the simple reason of just liking a shaved head?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cutting and the Rest of the Day

i cut my finger today, yet again. the middle ring finger of the left hand. now it is covered by tough-stick band aid since there are kitchen chores left to do still. while walking down south street today, have mapped out how to end the last working day of the week: will wash flags and prepare chickpea salad for dinner. but then i changed my mind while entering the house. i'll bake date loaf cake mix instead. so there, while trying to take out with the left hand a thin piece of butter on the knfe, my hand slipped and the tip of the knife pierced through the finger. had to forego the washing of flags for tomorrow and favored deep fried skinless chicken thighs dipped in egg and corn starch for dinner. imagine, by just deciding to break the routine by baking, an entire chain of events have also been reversed. how will this impact my day tomorrow and the lives of others i encounter? a simple chain with consequences not uncomplicated and may be, far reaching.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Another Life

i'm now looking for real estate. browsing through condo units here and there. how the budget could afford this and that. what's the walking time from this office or that. how far would it be from the nearest mall. whether yaman would enjoy her vacations looking at a scenery of buildings. hay, i can't wait for my other life to start. four years has indeed been so long.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Easy as Apples

easy as apples. just listening over skype amateur video-stories using littlest pet shop toys. easy as apples. how soon can i use this in the right context?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Ref

sliced salmon are in packs, one in each. so are chicken thighs meant for dinner, either in cream, boiled or fried (quite rare). chicken, beef or pork for lunch meals are packed in bulk, for defrosting every sunday morning. seafood tofu, and silverfish are neatly tucked on the side. and so is turkish bread. also cut in small square pieces and stored in thick transparent plastic, mainly for breakfast with brie and mixed greens. wholegrain or sourdough wraps are also frozen. only taken out five minutes before microwaving, again for breakfast. without a decent camera, one just had to imagine. haven't included here trout, shrimp and crabs which now i rarely eat since roxanne and i are more inclined to go to uni than to canningvale market every saturday. but perhaps we might soon. expect pictures. now, whose camera can i borrow?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


the highlight of today is Dean. he came over to invite me for lunch, at around 130pm. way past lunchtime. and way in the middle of the writing. so in my usual blunt but comfy manner, i had to beg off but assuring him that we would have lunch in two weeks time. it's a comfort having a friend like this, inviting you for lunch in  surprise. i like Dean because of the conversations and how in his gentleness, you know he is listening. i'm not giving him credit for anything. i don't even know him that much. but i look forward to a lunch under the trees, the air filled with light but hearty conversation.

Monday, April 22, 2013


with the current fruits in season, i like plums best. they don't have these in the philippines so i'm taking as much as i can. one for lunch and dinner. and at least for the day to make me 'go' as scheduled, my early morning ritual.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stitching Again

it was not even planned this morning. as if something just clicked and i opened the cabinet, took the red box out and laid the pattern right in front of me. a pattern bought when Yaman was just 3. and now she's 7. 4 years and still not done. the little angel in yellow and golden wings. after mass, grocery, preparing lunch, cooking meals for the week, doing laundry, and folding the dry ones, took again to stitching before hooking on to skype around 7pm. it's so good this. although my eyes are no longer are strong, to find that one's hands are still reliable, not nervous at all, to just do things that do not need much brain work (although stitiching still does need a little especially in negotiating efficient routes through the design) is rest enough for someone like me who technically has only one rest day now in a week. and yes i noticed, my right hand is indeed bigger than my right. perhaps because of the effort. or perhaps my eyes are again betraying me. who cares? let's just stitch.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


kailan matatapos ang labahan?
kailan pwedeng hindi na maghain ng ulam?
kailan kusang titiklop ang sinampay?
kailan ang plantsa kusa na ding gagalaw?
kailan maaaring iwaglit ang paglinis?
kailan titigil ang pagintindi sa wala, sa nakalimutan at kulang?
kapag sa susunod na buhay, lalaki ng tunay
maaari'y wala nang tanong kung kailan?

Friday, April 19, 2013

None For Granted

2013 is the year of goodbyes in the Centre.  caroline, our beloved director, is leaving next week. and in four months time, several postgrads will also clear their desks and drawers, remove those plastered papers on the wall and post-its on the bottom side of the computer screen, pack up the host of journal articles and books lining up the wall, and just leave. footsteps changed by other footsteps.  sighs replaced by other sighs. and conversations steeped in a variety of voices and languages.  one should not take all these for granted. that while we toil in the agony of writing, the Centre had been there in the intellectual and moral support of supervisors, the ready technology, and the friendships that bonded postgrads enduring the same gruelling process of critical thought. one should not take these for granted. that as we are sad and homesick for the care of our beloved, out there are the canopy of trees that shade us on our way home, the air that stays fresh with the smell of pine, and where the song of birds soothe the weary mind. one should not take all these for granted. perth has been one's home too. and while one can never truly blend and is always on the defensive, it could also welcome, accommodate, embrace in the simplicity of what is laid bare.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grass to Milk

just have to forego all things fancy for now. this stone leather bag that is just perfect. the kindle dx reader to store all relevant journal articles. a trip to sydney and new zealand with the daughter and mother. patience. patience. patience. grass will be milk someday.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

House Work

the clothes are piled over the bed frame. inside the basin, last week's clothes await handwashing. flags are for the soaking too. and by saturday, it's going to be another work day. help me pace Lord that i will not wear my body and mind out from too much work, for there are other things waiting to be done by these hands.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chocolate Together

we're eating chocolate over skype. she's munching the real one while also laying it out in front of me to bite. he he. in this case, the distance does not matter. my daughter is here before me, only i couldn't touch her. but over the waves, both of us feel each other's presence. as we exchange youtube recordings of crafts we will make as soon as i got back. as we talk about where to get this hard plastic, foam and ribbons for beddings. as we talk about the family's may 12 excursion (ugh, can i get back to join them?). as we both yawn. as we both say, i love you. and as we both take another serving of chocolate.

Monday, April 15, 2013


the time i finished working in the afternoon last saturday, i already had a headache. although this was gone a few minutes after closing the computer, signalling the end of another writing week. it's hard, having to face the  truth that as one ages, so will eyesight fail, and the taken-for-granted task of working on a netbook could exact such a toll. in the morning till the afternoon, here in my room at home, had to keep the room light, other than the desk light on because i cannot seem to focus. the zoom had to be set at 130C to help my eyes focus. enough of this. and enough of my pride. saturday, i take the same routine of walking once more along south street, and working at the arc. i should not think that i'm too tired to walk and work another day in uni. i should think that i must learn to work in the best conditions, if i am to make use of my sight for more years to come.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cooking Experiments

how about...

balao spaghetti with lots of cherry  tomatoes and okra?
chicken adobo with carrots and mushrooms?
pork in munggo with mushroom and basil?
creamed shrimp with carrots and capsicum?
carrot spaghetti in beef, basil and mozarella cheese?


Saturday, April 13, 2013

The 15-Minute Weapon

for three days in a row, i've been taking cat naps of 15 minutes before resuming work in the afternoon. true enough, sleeping gives you a jolt that caffeine could not. as soon as the alarm sounds, i sit up straight, wipe my face with my hands, and start on. the screen looks brighter, and mind is so awake and eager i just let myself go with writing with the editing mode off. just as today, i just decided to free write after waking up to let loose the thoughts hanging over my head. without care whether i'm making serious sense, i just wrote with the jolt from cat naps as a weapon. robert ludlum said it. sleep is a weapon. even for one only 15 minutes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday in Freo

with no hair to put down, literally, i'll just say, it's nice to wear white on a friday, don auntie nina's gift of a white diamond-studded chanel dress watch, and just have dinner with close friends in freo, for a change. tomorrow would still be a work day but to take a refreshing change by wishing off the grayness of friday to a warm meal over happy conversations is a welcome one.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Off to Rain

today, the white shoes with metal studs will have its first experience with rain. just for the madam to have fresh turkish bread and fresh mesculin salad. off we go in 5 minutes!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

South Street at Night

for the first time, in such a long long time, after i've changed my pattern into starting early and leaving early, here i am,. about to brave a long walk through south street, the sun no more in the west. if not for my low IQ in technology, i would have gone home much earlier. but longing forward again to this walk, to unload the cares of the day, and the stupidity of not knowing what buttons to click to bibliography work so much much easy.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Walking through Dew

a walk earning morning feeling the damp of dew on my skin is one perth experience i could not take anywhere else. not in my luggage back to the philippines. it can't even be frozen on the spot with a phone camera. it is just there to enjoy. as the light breeze grazes my cheeks on the walk up along south street to the gum tree-lined campus of murdoch. i will miss these walks for sure.

Monday, April 8, 2013


i accidentally nicked an academic journal from the library. if i only knew, i would have not paid for photocopying two articles in it,  inside the library. now it's in my shelf and probably will return it after photocopying one other interesting article on informal work. not a thief, just a borrower, unofficially of course.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lactose Free Milk

on the shelves marked for 'TEA, COFFEE, AND MILK, there lies the goat's milk at an astounding A$4.95/liter, compared to the regular coles full cream milk at only A$1.15. how can i go about drinking coffee with milk sans this stomach pain? then marked by the yellow sale tag, there lies the solution. Liddles lactose-free milk, full cream, at only A$1.74. let's try this vitti and see who gives up, your stomach or your pocket.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ano Ba Talaga, Yaman?

four weeks ago, blingles
less than 2 days, littlest pet shop
within five days, lalaloopsy
after about a week, la dee da
and now, back to squinkies
whatever Anak.
we'll just finalize on my way home
tiyak ko
it's none of the above.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hating Pettiness

attitude really determines character. take this one, so disappointing, in making mountains out of molehills. left to whine and complain rather than face a nagging issue head on. it makes sense sometimes to be born and bred in a developing country. where living deprived of public services and the quality of services had to be spent with one's own personal money, one learns to value what is there and possible, within one's reach. it makes sense sometimes to have a difficult upbringing, to experience bullying in school, to experience not being accepted in a clique of rich teens, to experience university life where there are stark income inequalities. one learns to say no outright, complain outright, and just be, amid the mudslinging.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday Shopping

what's the grocery list for today?

- avocados
- mushrooms
- cos lettuce
- milo
- seafood tofu
- turkish bread

after work, it's all dinner, skyping with Yaman, and prayers.

thanks Lord for the day!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I am Beautiful

despite sporting a shaved head, i have been told lately, more than once, that there is something spirited in me, something that my colleagues haven't seen in me since being here in 2009.  perhaps, it's not only when i stopped wearing red, upon the advice of a true-blue feng shui adviser and natural psychic that red goes against my natural element, which is metal. matutunaw daw ako. so when i got here last january, dumped all red stuff away at the salvation shops.

perhaps it has something to do with my new-found freedom, my decision to break free from expectations and relationships that snuff out positive energy.

as being of the metal element confines me to the boring colors of white, gray, silver and yellow, i've tried experimenting clothes and shoes which would add a little bling. like white shoes with metal studs. or metallic blue shoes (at least it's made of a shining metallic color blue). i wear jewelry every day now and yes, i now feel naked without earrings. i wear amethyst and citrine rings on my left, and pearl, on the right. my left hand is adorned with a moonstone bracelet and alternatingly, an amethyst or rose quartz bracelet, and a silver watch.

i make sure my face is powdered, lips moist with lip balm, and hands lotioned before writing, even in this solitary desk and corridor where the men i get to meet often is a gigantic dutch guy, a bearded singaporean silk, a pot-bellied brilliant indonesian professor, a loud israeli scholar, a gangly australian research fellow, and a well-respected american historian. i'm wearing scarves to uni when it's cold - cream with gold trimmings and one with zebra stripes. i try to look smart wearing brown coats or black cardigan over white and yellow shirts. and on occasion, as the weather permits, my pink ballet shoes, an ultra shiny pink version with blue strap (chosen especially by Yaman last december), and light pink flats made by a local shoe store in naga for light walking.

i feel beautiful, i am beautiful because i am finally getting to be me, as i want to be. i'm happy with my weight, my disposition, and my version of beauty that defies the gay/dyke stereotype associated with having a shaved head. it's a wonderful age, this 42.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Cookie Entrepreneur

we'll start with giveaways this christmas. had to master the oven in naga, yet again. working with one made for the third world could be a bit tricky - the balancing of heat and cooking time to make sure no cookies or parts of it get burned. it would mean lots of practice, the stacking up on almond meal, bought from manila, no less. Yaman should be very excited, arranging the cookies in gift bags,  with ribbons on top, and probably delivering them, herself. must be good to start a small business like this. a hobby for a business.

Monday, April 1, 2013


if only life could just be about eating home-made cookies. delicious in sight and in every bite. filling up hunger but not much to accommodate enough craving for real food. for its aroma to linger on one's fingers. gentle but wafting. reminding one of home, of not caring about one's importance in the world, of just being simple, unattached, and carefree, even for one just one moment, defined by eating one home-made cookie.