Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Moving words

How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight ....

[...this post is interrupted with an advisory that the above words are not the moving words the blogger is referring to.]

The moving words are: "I am moving to another place in cyberspace."

So would you care to hear my thoughts out loud? Click here -> Beng's new site.

Hope to see you there. :)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Today I am lusting after...

In the middle of my Monday workday, while trying to fix my table, I come across this old newspaper page, the lifestyle section of Business Mirror. My eyes dart down to the bottom of the first page with an article on "How-to's of camera phone photography."

My now-favorite phone brand, Sony Ericsson, is featured (more specifically the K800i). The model is a 3.2 megapixel camera phone, and incidentally, the first to carry the famed Cyber-shot brand.

I've called using other phones before--Bosch (back when only one-fourth of the population had cellphones. To this brand's defense, my blue Bosch once fell off the moving tricycle I was in. When I went down to pick it up, it was still working perfectly well, save for a few scratches). Then of course, the Philippine's staple brand, Nokia. From the lowly 3210 to the relatively more upscale 6600, Nokia became a faithful friend. With easy-to-decipher features and controls, who wouldn't be attracted to a Nokia?

But ever since I used my first Sony Ericsson phone, my present K600i, there's no turning back for me. This is an understatement, but I have grown to love and enjoy this phone. I've seen one of the bad guys in the most recent James Bond movie use my model and I felt mighty proud about it, notwithstanding that he used it to detonate a bomb.

I am now lusting after a new phone, the above-mentioned K800i. Aside from it having an expandable memory(which my K600i lacks), the seller for me is its high-resolution camera. Imagine having a decent camera in your bag which you can take out anytime to take pictures of a perfect rainbow in the sky, or a friend making funny faces, or of Sophia, my 1-year-old niece who might flash her smile on her non-cranky days.

The only problem, that is if I can consider it a problem, is that I already have a phone that works fine 90 percent of the time. When I bought it ten months ago, I promised myself I'd only replace it if it gets busted. The same principle I'm using in relation to my Tungsten E PDA, which is pushing three this year.

For now, I'd have to be content with my cute and functional SE phone. Sure, something better is out there. But then again, there's no rule which says I always have to get what I want. I'm okay with it, really. :)

But the second my present phone dies on me, at least I know what to find.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kitchen Talk

Today has been a kitchen day for me. I woke up earlier than usual (for a weekend) so I could get many things done. My plan was simple: Cook the meals I will try to teach a class how to do in the next couple of days. During our upcoming 3-day company retreat in Laguna, I am tasked to show a dozen or so participants how to wield the kitchen wand. (Actually, I am filling in the shoes of the real kitchen whiz, the wife of an officemate, who begged off when she realized that she’ll do more teaching than cooking.) With my finished products on the refrigerator, I think I can teach them how to make embotido, beef tapa and ham and cheese pimiento spread.

Learning to cook is just like learning any other skill. Motivation is the key. You’d have to want to do it. If I were marooned on an island, I’d be motivated to learn how to make a boat even if I don’t have the slightest interest in acquiring shipbuilding skills. So why did I learn to cook, with no husband egging me to cook his favorite meal or no mother-in-law expecting me to serve her son with lavish meals fit for a king?

My top of the mind answer is my mother. She never had an office job yet she shone in the kitchen. I remember seeing her possessed by the kitchen muse which would account for the delicious food spread on the table several hours after her kitchen confinement. I didn’t know it yet then but now, looking back, maybe that was it: She made me want to be a cook.

No marriage or hope of it prompted me when I first wore the apron many years ago. I was still in college when I would bake snickerdoodles and crinkles which my older sister would then sell to her classmates. I’d stay up most of the night mixing batter and waiting for the oven toaster to signal that my cookies are done. From then on, I graduated to baking cakes and preparing non-pastry treats. Longtime friends, especially those who are frequent visitors, would request specific meals. Carrot cake for Divine, lasagna for Terry. As much as possible, I give in to their requests. Their reward for making it to our house, relatively far from where they live, on my birthday. [I cook on my birthday…and Christmas :) , among many other special days.]

I am saying this to inspire women to try cooking sometime. You don’t have to cram acquiring culinary knowledge two months before your wedding. Try cooking even if Mr. Right hasn’t proposed yet. (And even if he never shows up, there will always be people who can benefit from your cooking.) You are never too young, or too old, to learn how to make a meal. Yes, there are many food products now available in groceries—in cardboard packages, waiting to be microwaved for three minutes. But believe me when I say that there is a certain kind of fulfillment that makes your own cooked food taste better than the most expensive five-star hotel meal.

Just ask Nora Daza. Or better yet, ask my Ma.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

fifteen minutes

What do you say in fifteen minutes? This I am about to find out as I try to capture the thoughts that will flit through my mind as the clock ticks during my lunch hour...

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

Lately I am finding myself under a constant barrage of meetings, things-to-do, social commitments. My life has definitely returned to its normal pace. Hectic and tiring this kind of life may sometimes seem, yet this life is safe. Enveloped by the familiar, I know where each part, each task, each person fits. But there are times when I just want to be reckless and risk jumping into a pool of possibilities. And then I remember that in real life, I don't swim. But maybe, that should change.

* * * * * *

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14

* * * * * * *

Time's up.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Comings and goings

Businesspeople in trenchcoats don't walk while passing through it, they scurry about. College-aged kids with their backpacks securely strapped meander their way through the people traffic, unsure about their destination, stopping often to see the trip schedules flash on the overhead screen. While I, a 3-week temporary resident of a neighboring state, take in all the sights and sounds of the legendary terminal in New York: The Grand Central.

This is the spot where the scenes of more than a few Hollywood movies had been shot. Maybe it's the kinetic energy that is palpable in this busy space. Maybe it's the incessant turnover of commuters--for every one that enters the subway train, another one exits. Maybe it's the size; it's not called the GRAND central for nothing.

The Grand Central is abuzz with comings and goings--very much like life. Sad is he who, confined to the tiny space he has created for himself, directly proportional to the space he's alloted in his heart for others to occupy, has remained stagnant. No more comings. Just goings.

On this cold day somewhere in the heart of midtown New York, slivers of sunlight manage to escape through the window slats. This should be just like life.

*Originally posted on March 22. I can't remember why I took it out after I posted it but now, I'm deciding to show it again.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sister stories

Two women have been the subject of my posts recently so I guess it’s about time I let you meet them. Nang, on the right with short(er) hair, is my soup-sipping eldest sister. On her left is my Goldilocks-cake-loving sister, Rae, who incidentally happens to be the real nurse in the family. I took this picture last April 6, Friday, during the family’s Eat-All-You-Can Japanese lunch.

We three sisters were together the day before, braving the still-chilly air to go to Nang’s plastic surgeon. Her drain tube was about to be taken off. With Nang’s husband Chris at work, Rae drove for her to the hospital. As for me, well, it just felt right to tag along.

At the clinic, my sister’s name was called out while we were in the waiting area. Rae and I wanted to accompany her all the way inside so Rae asked, “Can we come inside too?” Nang answered, “I’m not sure.” I suggested, “Let’s just go for it and wait for them to drive us away.”

No driving away happened when Dr. Borah (who should be grateful the last letter of his surname was an H) saw us. The big doctor with a balding head, amused, simply quipped, “You’ve brought a whole team here.”

Yeah, one’s from Indiana, and the other’s from the Philippines, Nang wanted to answer back. She was expecting the worst, with somebody giving her first-hand information weeks before about how painful the actual removal of the tube felt like. The surgeon, with his skillful hands, immediately went to work. No screaming happened which prompted me to say out loud, “That wasn’t too bad.” In retrospect, I should’ve kept my mouth shut lest the doctor think this petite Filipina was evaluating his performance, he, the chief of plastic surgery at Robert Wood Johnson of all people. No offense, doc. I’m kinda nice in real life, just not always tactful. Going back to the procedure, after ten minutes, we were already on our way out.

Our next stop was at McDonald’s where we had a quick lunch peppered with talks about family, food, and why the honey mustard wrap I ate tasted like it was slathered with nail polish. Then it was time for the sisters’ favorite activity: shopping. But this time, it was controlled (the act of looking and the spending itself) because my eldest sister’s upper body movement was still limited. But you can’t really put a good shopper down—with surgery and all (Rae was already shopping for her daughter’s clothes in the hospital the day after her C-section). Determination, unexplainable strength, love for shopping—what woman doesn’t have these strengths?

* * * * * * * * * * *

I’m already back in the Philippines, still trying to fight off jetlag at the time of this writing. But I brought home more than two heavy checked-in luggages with me. And am I glad that no airport officer can make me surrender this: memories of moments spent with family who should be getting the most costly investment from us—our time.


Here are pictures of me (taken using a Canon powershot camera and my low-res SE cellphone) with my sisters’ kids: Nang’s Ian and Noah, Rae’s Ethan and Emma. Don't they look adorable? But of course, this Tita is biased. :)