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)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Fasting Blues

i have to reconsider fasting. perhaps next time, i should be wary of drinking too much coffee and tea as a substitute for tea. by 2pm today, minor stomach pains were setting in and i had to supplement apples with wholewheat crackers. by the time i got home at 550pm, i had to eat two more of the crackers with dip to hold off the pain.  i still would fast next week but would watch what i'm drinking.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Happy Pic

Yaman and Mommy are this happy together. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Yaman and Cards

my daughter, according to the sister, is now a master in pusoy dos and tong-its.

what can i say???

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cousin Larry

my cousin larry in the US died today. i'm not sure if he had a good life. about several years ago, he got divorced and was taking care of his kids. he did not have enough, so he and his children had to live with my uncle in seattle. i could not recall of any positive news about him in the past year or so. it's so sad. to leave this world the way he did. for people to feel sad for you, well before you have died.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Grateful Monday

i'm always edgy on a monday. the toughest day of the week. the toughest day to start anew. but somehow, the chapter i'm planning to finish by friday, was over at past 530pm today. more time to meet with the supe, discuss the key issues and corrections, and revise the revised. tomorrow, since the supe is away with melbourne, i can start at least with the next chapter and write another (sure) sentence or two with the conclusion. i'm plodding on a monday but i'm grateful.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


today, i went on skype with liza who lives in sunnyvale, CA.letting her know of my tragic-comedic love story had to be done online, texting will not do and is too frustrating. close to a year after the heartbreak, it's a relief to be able to talk about it as if the past is already a distant past. with a lot of perspective on the side. the pain is not much anymore. and while one can be a bit casual in telling one's side of the story, of course it's not a casual heartbreak. not of mine is, as i don't play around. but since the heartbreak has been one of a series, one can speak about the angst of it as well as the experience of getting through with it, with a sense of cool. talking about it with a bestfriend is a relief. yes, i'm thankful at the end of it all. yes, it's good to know each other's limitations before committing to anything more serious. yes, one can still be happy, and complete, and from a relative sense. to say, i am happy and complete compared to what would have been if  one has still been through this and that. and while liza laughs through it all, perhaps she is able to as i am holding on amid alternating between loss, pride, sadness, relief, disappointment, and release. there's no map in going through and surviving heartache. one carves a style, a process of adjusting, and thriving. from heartache, we ended up talking about the phd. and it's a similar process. i go through the motions, the process, aiming to still be intact in mind, body, heart and soul as i negotiate the drafts, the deadlines, the comments, and the never-ending cycle of correction and adjustment. there is an end to heartache. as there is an end to this phd. and i will open a new door to something, and somewhere. liza will always be there.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bibra Lake

today is Bibra Lake day
a treat of home-baked coconut cake and raisins with roxanne
a 1-hr 6-km trek around the lake
with black swans and the sounds of cockatoos and cookaburras
parents and toddlers in bikes
bald men and couples walking
conversations about phd, our loves, and the future
i regret not having a smartphone for pics
anyway, the words will do
an afternoon under the hot sun this autumn
Bibra Lake made my saturday

Friday, May 24, 2013


you got what you want vitti. make the most of your time and live within your means. but you deserve to rest tomorrow. it's been a harrowing three months and you've held your ground.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Past 2 Days and Status Quo

i forgot to blog for two days, two days of which the highlights are: tuesday, march 22: finally the mens has come after two months (exactly 2 months since the latest was since march 21); and march 23: the house at naga got 'flooded' again because of leaky sections of the roof. the latter has further reinforced my decision to stay here until the end of july to finish revisions as much as i can. although i am still praying for guidance because of the living costs it will entail out of the meagre savings stashed. the days are passing on well, i'm sleeping better, i'm praying even more, and giving my best in the writing obligations of the day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bye Bye Burdens

it was a prayer book given by auntie nina two years ago, september 2011. it was just there lying around, hidden from view by an old newspaper. last sunday, i just took it after observing after several nights of praying. and there i chanced upon the Prayer to the Holy Spirit, now published online in my facebook account. i don't know what to ask really. the prayer did not even say that one should have a petition before praying. i just believed that in this unideal situation i'm in, there will be acceptance and strength. and from out of nowhere, a consciousness towards emotional healing struck.  i am unloading now the emotional burdens of the past - unloading, letting go, surrendering, releasing.  the past cannot be undone. some things can no longer be reversed. my decisions are firm. but i can forgive, forget, and pray more importantly to be forgiven. i cannot move on in full with these burdens.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Growing Uli

winter's here so i'm growing my hair long. to which the daughter exclaimed in unguarded honesty, 'mabuti naman!'. another mane to maintain in the coming weeks.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

This Faucet

one just has to prepare for the worst. let's hope no fool opens the defective faucet and cause flooding in the arc. it will destroy everyone's year i'm sure:(

Friday, May 17, 2013


it's good to walk by home, early, along south street. with the sun still up and warming the shaved head with hairs slowly growing. to just take a breather from the stress by looking to a late afternoon of watching 'a touch of frost' at one's leisure. it doesn't matter whether work again awaits tomorrow. what matters is now. that after this sentence, i'm going on youtube and watch all i want.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Goodbye and Hello

i say goodbye to fellow researcher, rod, tonight whose going on fieldwork around the world.

i say welcome to the world forever to the newest addition to the Valenzuela family, Margani Nathan Valenzuela-De Luna:)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Sun at Dusk in Murdoch

from my room with a view to the paved road linking the arts building with the education building, my most favorite view is the near dusk color of the surroundings around 4pm. there's something comforting about the yellow rays of the sun radiant over the green foliage and the brown bricked buildings. it reminds me of family and i often imagine yaman walking down the path to collect me from work.  it's another thing about murdoch and perth that i will miss.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Awaiting a Baby

awaiting my newest nephew. coming in two days. margani as i dreamt him had the color and face of his dad and, his mom's curly hair. i'm pretty sure that he's a boy. let's see on thursday:)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Good Monday

if stairs is po's nemesis, mine is ironing. after 2 hours of ironing last night which led me to sleep way past 10am, i couldn't bear to wake up and start the day at 430am this morning. so on a monday, i decided to sleep through and woke up around 730am. the weather was great in perth - sunny but cool with south street basking in beautiful bright blue, green, yellow, white, and golden colors, in all the right places. while the day did not unfold as i expect it, and one has to make real choices at the end of the day, it's still a good monday nonetheless. one has to start with the realities faced, even if these realities are so hard to accept, not without crying. perhaps i will cry later when i pray. it's a good monday, nonetheless.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day, Yaman

Yaman's mother's day gift to me was a picture frame, hand-made out of recycled stuff that she was cutting out and finishing up just this monday, over skype. it was an old picture of her and me, i still had long hair. we have the same smile. the same cheeks that stand out when we smile. we were both looking side-ways into the camera. happy. the frame has an 'i love you' written on the top right side which shows her firm penmanship at the age of 7. how i wish to be home with my daughter now. today, i just had a quiet treat for myself, at Salia's Cafe in perth, downing a cappuccino and my favorite, pecan pie. how i wish my daughter is here. how i wish we can make this a tradition every sunday.  wherever we are, to eat, to talk, and laugh, look ahead, reminisce yesterday or just be silent amid the comforting presence of having one another. i shall have no other but my Yaman. away from her, nothing could be more sure. i love you my Abalantung. this Mother's day is for you.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


hand-washed dark-colored clothes soaked two days ago. soaked flags for tomorrow's washing. cooked salmon and snowpea shoots just in time. just 5 minutes to 7pm. what a relief.  i could really multi-task.

Friday, May 10, 2013


after reading from to 4pm, decided to do push-ups before resuming with writing. on the dirty and hardly vacuumed carpet, did 30 non-stop push ups with feet raised. i was exhilarating. after 30 counts, i could still do more, even extend until 50 or 60. keeping the weight stable indeed has its rewards, including regular sun salutations and pilates which have strengthened my back and upper body. i'll see how much i can do tomorrow.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pwede na Soup

the vermicilli was cooked well. the soup was bland. veggies were in heaps - green capsicum, buk choy, carrots, white onions. and so with the protein- chicken, chinese balls, pork, beef strips, and shrimp. if not for hunger, i'd let it pass. but as food is grace, whatever the form and the taste, i will still take it in. this cold autumn evening in perth, any hot soup is worth eating.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Answer to Late Mens

got a credible answer yesterday from Fusion Health on whether i should take supplements to enhance my menstruation (of course their product) and why at 42 i am already having irregular mens. it so happen that i am also taking liver cleansing tablets for close to two weeks now. this is so because i take about 7 vitamin supplements daily (vit c, b12, magnesium, fish oil, calcium & d3, and zinc) and had to cleanse the liver regularly every 3 months. the naturopath mentioned that liver cleansing might have interrupted the mens. and it must have. just last year, around april, my cycle reached 40 days because a week after arriving here in perth, indeed i was taking liver cleansing tabs. and yes, i was supposed to have my mens on the last week of april, but before then, had started the liver cleansing routine. the body is already old. it's not what at seems. can no longer multi-task. the lesson then is to liver cleanse only after the mens. ok then. i just hope the mens comes soon once this week is over.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

So Be It

i can't wait for this life to end, and for the next 40-50 years to start. it's like going through another door. but this time, the door beholding is bigger, ornate and promising only the better stuff, withheld for the past 42 years. so now, i may forego. i may postpone. i am left to sacrifice, and endure. and be tested, every single day. it's not because it is ending. it is perhaps because it is a beginning. a honing period. to be able to 'get' the lesson and imbibe it in ways that one cannot forget. so be it.

Monday, May 6, 2013


How does one evaluate 2012? With a mix of resignation, sadness, triumph, fear, and anticipation. At what point did 2012 start and where did it end? This is an assessment.

Resignation. One always wishes for the best of things and relationships. The year started with someone and ended with no one. An unexpected outcome. It was not part of the map to 'forever' but it did happen. Before this, surmised the tarot lady in 2000 was wrong all along. Someone was meant to come and stay, and hold the fort with. But that someone just turned out to be like any other one. Mid-point to 2012, the divination had to be respected. Tried as much to be practical, at one point, sat on the edge of the bed, and threw one's arms in the air in resignation. So this is how it is. However hard one tries, however one tries to be the ideal strong partner, reality unfolds with a surprise saying, 'It's not you. It's just your fate.' So that is what fate means - to try to be and still be shortchanged by one's reality.

Sadness.  Strength does not come from light, but from the overbearing darkness that needs to be endured.  The cup of sadness overflowed and only the light of night brought solace. Shed amid the tears were questions, judgments and anger. Anger reigned for a while, the insides of one's mouth bitten until it bled. Tempers flew in the centre as the Hag with rowdy wavy hair strutted about throwing dirty spoons, plates, leftovers in the bin. There are no friends left to share one's turmoil, except Roxanne whose limits to absorbing shock had to be considered all the time. No one asked to the point of being encouraged to share.  So the thread of one's sadness had to be rolled into spools, to be unrolled to one's version of the story, only to real friends who mattered to ask and wait and listen and bear and comfort. It is true. Better to lose a boyfriend than a bestfriend. In sadness, only bestfriends can be trusted to endure one's sorrows.

Triumph. South Street marked the road to endings and beginnings. If before mid-2012, walking home to South Street at the end of the day meant impending comfort to one's heart; by the midpoint, walking over South Street every morning signified deliverance.  Deliverance from nagging pain and thoughts. It meant doing something concrete for the day.  South Street and the writing mattered such that opening the door to Room 2.04A every morning tingled with excitement. The day meant not being ruled by one's heart but by one's mind. The night reserved for sadness was to Day reserved for triumph.  Triumph in ideas, words, sentences, commas and periods. The daily routine was set: to write, to read, to prepare tables, to transcribe, then to write again.  One wrote to exhaustion, then to the satisfaction of closing a section, a chapter.  Amid the comments of writing that ebbs with confusing sentences are comments that writing is rising with clarity. The triumph is in the daily effort of coming to work, and writing one's work. This is what it meant in saying, 'the PhD saved me'.

Fear.  One wonders, what is there left to fear in 2013 since loss has come as early as 2012? What is fear this time? It's in going at it alone, still, after being made to believe that one will never be alone, anymore.  It's more than just picking up the pieces.  There are no pieces left to rebuild.  It's like choosing a new door, but without knowing what door will manifest.  Perhaps the door matters less than the one facing it. Armed with whatever faith, a bunch of heart, and whatever self-belief is left after dealing with loss.  To be alone at the nth time and to finally be resolved that this is how it would be until death comes.  One is led to believe that perhaps one's soul has not been split after all. There is no twin soul, no soul mate, no love of one's life, out there. Rather, the soul has already been perfected by one's grief. That the soul is already complete because of an unbelievable surge of strength that only one's God can bestow. But the fear is there. Perhaps fear is normal.  The fear confronting the soul helps acknowledge its continuing need for others. That other need not be a partner. A partner is not the totality of one's completeness.  One need not a partner to be complete after all. So on the edge of fear, one learns to reach out - for life.

Anticipation.  Once the veil of romantic love lifts off and flies never to return, one sees in stark relief the importance of people who matter. Of those who love without question.  Of those who love because they just do. Those for whom your name, your face, your being has been stored, imprinted deep down. Life becomes a grand vista yet to be explored. One comes to appreciate good health, the completeness of family, the silent love of one's mother, and the laughter of one's daughter, the future that lies for the taking, and one's God to hold on to, whatever the season.  One becomes ready any time. Whether the next year be good or bad under divination, Chinese astrology, numerology, or just plain luck - one still takes heed, but one all the more believes. This is how 2012 would end. A year of blinding surprises, deep pain but bottomless faith, nonetheless. Been there, and still here. Ready as ever.

Planning Laundry

now that saturday has become a workday, the laundry is being spread over several days starting sunday. yes,. it takes a lot of planning too. saturday is for handwashing flags. sunday, for bulkier stuff like pants, bed sheets, the towel and bathrobe set, jogging pants, and jackets worn this cold autumn season. monday, the laundry of house clothes, pre-soaked in perla and vinegar the day before. the rest of the week, the soaking and handwashing of light-colored  and dark-colored clothes for school, respectively. if one has the will, then the way opens. and that works for the serious stuff as well.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sign of Red

it just can't be. i'm just 42. last march, my menstrual cycle reached 40 days. then this april, no mens came. as of today, my mens is running on a near 60-day cycle. i'm not panicking. but i'm not happy. the mens keeps the toxins out, flushes out waste from the reproductive system. so now, where are all the waste going? and wouldn't this be affecting me emotionally as well. i still wait for the sign of red. it's too early to raise the white flag of surrender.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


i'm cross-stitching while the daughter plays pusoy dos, at a tender age of 7. praying that she will make better use of her brain and her hands just as her mom doesn't have an idle time with them.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday in Freo with Yanti

i would consider her one of my sweetest friends. yanti, my indonesian colleague in the arc who shares the same name as my best friend now based in jakarta, janty with whom Yaman's second name Asrijanty comes from. we had lunch today at freo. for us to 'celebrate' important milestones this week. her having submitted 60% of her chapter to the supe, and me, the revised version of chapter 1 (introduction). we had pad thai noodles, crispy squid and fresh shrimp rolls. then to walk off a hearty lunch and keep ourselves standing, we dropped by two op-shops, good sammy's and salvo's, fremantle's versions of ukay. by 2pm, we had coffee at salia's cafe, a small but homey cafe run by a young malaysian family. she had mocha while i had cappuccino and irresistible pecan pie (a discovery in sydney since returning to australia in 2009). it's good to be with a warm bosom friend who can see your life as is and not judge. we'll have another one on the end of may. this time, we're going to swan river.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Turning of the Tide

i didn't have much toys as a kid. all i remember is a rag doll and a tea set, which lived with me until college. as a kid, my parents made me feel we didn't have much. so i learned not to expect much. and learned to live with what i have. even in college, i don't remember writing or calling them to ask for additional allowance even as the well ran dry, every now and then. i learned how to live with what is available, to scrimp, and to settle for what is affordable, and not what is really wanted.  until now, it's still the case. just within one's means. in all aspects of life, i do not expect for more. but perhaps the tide is changing. to allow myself to want more, expect more, and be more. i have to learn to push what is deserved.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Like This Jazz

one good thing in going home to an empty house is...i get to play songs from youtube full blast while cooking dinner. in this link, sentimental jazz that i actually love but no the titles or even the singers are mostly found. so while the tuna was cooking and the handwashing was being prepared, i was singing my heart out!