Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bee happy

(For Tuesday, May 30, 2006)

I gotta hand it to Jollibee...they know what kids want. And they know what parents are willing to shell out. Granted, they didn't invent the kiddie meal phenomenon, but they are milking it to the hilt here.

Yesterday I was with a 4-year old girl. As she was eating a to-die-for chocolate cupcake with thick, rich icing on it, I asked her what her favorite food in the world is. Her answer: fried chicken and rice. Instinctively, asked, "Does it have to come with a toy?" She nodded "yes" enthusiastically.

In a recent seminar that I attended, I learned that kids in very poor families look at Jollibee as their Toy Kingdom (the local version of Toys 'R Us) and proudly display their prized Kiddie Meal toys at home.

I must admit that I do find Jollibee's Chicken Joy quite delicious; so much that I don't mind finishing up after Miguel when we order a kiddie meal. It's one of the few dishes that he eats with gusto. At least I know that he likes the food and the toy.

So here's a photo of the Wolverine Disc Launcher that I bought at the Jollibee drive-through late last night. Because I promised my son that I would get it.

My officemate who's a bigtime action figure collector (think Toy Kingdom collectibles) pointed out that McDonald's makes better toys than Jollibee. And you know what? He's right. Some of the Jollibee stuff turned out to be duds, quality-wise. It has to do mostly with misaligned parts and poor connecting joints. But 80% of the time you'll find me driving over to Jollibee. Because my son asks for it.

Now that's what I call successful marketing.


Monday, May 29, 2006


Here are the 3 things that Gueli is excited about:

1. His birthday ("I can't wait for it!")
2. Getting 2 more Jolly kiddie meals so that he can complete his X-Men Shuttle collection
3. Completing all the craft projects in an activity book that we found

Here are the 3 things that I'm excited about:
1. Gueli getting his room
2. Me fixing my room
3. Superman movie in the IMAX theater :)

(Does having my car fixed count as well?)


Over the weekend

(For Sunday, May 28, 2006)

Here's the boy playing with mosaic tiles. Excellent toy. Helps hone his "Math wizard" skills. He wanted to do every design on the box, then have me take a picture of each work.

This is also the first time that I'm publishing a picture of him in glasses.


Moving out

(For Saturday, May 27, 2006)

Today Aida altered the curtains for Miguel's room. I told him, "Hey, after the curtains are in place, all we have to do is move in your bed." His response: "Let's move it in today!"


I didn't realize that he was so ready for this. So I left instructions for our househelp to move in the bed while we went to watch a movie with the beau. One movie, several video games, two cream puffs, and 2 kiddie meals later, Miguel and I went to see his room - finally complete. After his bath I found him playing contentedly in his new room.

I guess that having the toys transfer ahead of him made him eager to cross over. Or maybe it really is about time.

By bedtime, I knew for sure that he really liked his new room. He got my extra blanket and asked me to help him make a "tent."

As we agreed beforehand, I stayed with him until he fell asleep. We kept a nightlight on in his room, and we kept the doors of the adjoining bathroom open.

As I lay down alone at last in my roomier bedroom, I couldn't help but feel a tad poignant. It was so quiet. I realized that I coudn't hear him snoring softly any more. Neither can I hear him toss and turn in the middle of the night. But my boy's growing up.

And for that, I'm proud.


Friday, May 26, 2006


Thanks to the people who've been reading my blog. Do visit again! :)


Yesterday I was blow-drying my hair and then I saw it: a white strand. That's the second in as many days. An occasional strand once in a blue moon is okay. But now it's quite possible that there might be more. It's hard for me to conceive of myself as having white hair.

I remember that when we were kids we used to pull out my mom's white strands and get 10 cents for each piece. Nowadays mom has a hairdresser visit once a month for her henna hair treatment. It's a natural-looking dye which makes her hair appear as if it has highlights. I wonder, will I be doing the same thing 30 years from now?

In my head I think that I am still young but that white strand begs to differ.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Riding on the Metro

I've been taking the train for over a year now, and lately when I get down to the station, I hear this song in my head:

I remember searching for the perfect words
I was hoping you might change your mind
I remember a soldier sleeping next to me
Riding on the Metro

It's from The Metro by Berlin. This song is SOO eighties.

Anyway, the Inquirer reported a couple of weeks back that MRT ridership is at an all-time high. Not surprising, considering the rising cost of fuel. I still remember when gas cost P19 per liter; this week it just breached the P40 mark. Looks like it wants to catch up with the Peso-Dollar rate.

I always dress down when I have to take the train, which is practically every day. Exceptions will be when I have a client presentation or a date. In most of those instances I just bring the car since I plan to wear heels. But I just couldn't bring myself to "dress up" when I take the train. Tanks and sleeveless shirts are a no-no for me there.

After more than 10 years of driving myself around, I'm glad to say that I adjusted to commuting pretty well. At first I missed having my privacy every morning. But in time I learned to "shut off" the other commuters and became capable of accessing my deepest thoughts while navigating my way to work. Taking the train became automatic, in much the same way that I can drive on "auto-pilot."

While I did miss the freedom to go anywhere with my own set of wheels, I just reminded myself that I had to take the train day in and day out while I was in art school in New York.

Now that's a happy memory. It was the first time that I was away from my family for an extended period of time, and I really loved what I was doing then. I loved New York, and I loved the independence of going out into the city on your own. Imagine, you can just go anywhere and nobody would know where you are.

Well, glad to say that I was I good girl back then. I didn't go off into the bad side of town and didn't take too many excursions except to museums, art galleries, and the occasional Japanese restaurant. I was mindful of the fact that every art class cost XX dollars, so I wanted to make the most of the investment. Plus I really wanted to learn.

There were so many characters I encountered at the NY subway:

  • the street musician singing Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" to a guitar accompaniment:

    Laughing like children, living like lovers
    Rolling like thunder under the covers
    And I guess that's why they call it the blues;

  • the occasional black guy who solicited money on board, or should I say, intimidated riders into giving it;

  • the Asian lady who made up her face professionally while seated on the train;
  • and not to mention the man showed me his hairy tummy on the outdoor train platform - he said that he was a stripper and that they called him the "Wolfman." He got embarrassed when he realized that I wasn't interested in seeing his carpet.
Anyway, riding the MRT really gives me a slice of life. And yes, I am well aware that I am part of that pie. A couple of months back I remember seeing a young man in folded-back longsleeves and slicked-back hair during the morning trip. "Oh," I thought to myself, "a metrosexual on the metro." He stood out at the time, but then more and more upscale-looking people have been getting on the train that it isn't so unusual anymore. I imagine that I must have stuck out like a sore thumb in the beginning too.

Anyway, the metro is one thing that I'm glad for in this city.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ever heard of Bo

...Sanchez? His writings have been circulating in the emails for years, and some time ago I came across another priceless one.

It was about being "emotionally present" to your family. You really ought to read the whole article. But I liked the part where he said that you should praise your kids seven times a day. Glad to say that it's something that I do, from simple things like "you're so cute," "I like the way you're sitting" (with feet of the chair), or "I like it that you say please and thank you." And I do tell him that I love him several times a day.

Come to think of it, it's easy to be sweet with kids. With them, we dispense the hugs freely and unabashedly. It's with the adults that we seem to have a problem.

I think that most of us grew up with parents who were not very expressive. I may be wrong, but that's what I reckon from the conversations I've had with colleagues and friends.

Like my Chinese producer whose mother always said at mealtimes, "Eat costs P400 per kilo!" She grew up resenting her mom's habit of putting a price on the food that they were served. Until she read Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club and realized that this was her mom's way of saying that she was giving them the very best.

Between my mom and pop, mom is the more reserved. Dad was not the kind to express his feelings with words, but he certainly was affectionate - at least with the girls. It's something that my sis and I have inherited in great amounts. But you can imagine my frustration with mom, who was so careful not to pass judgment on anyone that she even forgot to praise her kids.

No, I don't take it against her; I love my mom totally. Even if she didn't want our heads to grow big with praise, at least she never said anything bad to us. No name-calling, no accusations...ever. Even when I was really out of line.

It's just that after reading Bo's article about praising your kids seven times a day, I figured I ought to do the same with my mom. Heck, you ought to do it with everyone. It's just that it's a bit awkward when you're breaking in an adult onto new habits. But I don't mind. Like I said, I love her to pieces.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I ought to go through that Artist's Way book once again. Sometimes, when I sit down to write a post, I don't know what to say. Weird thing is, it's not for a lack of subject matter. I have hundreds of things in my mind; it's just that not all of them are rated GP.

When I started this blog I did it as a creative outlet since what I write for work is pretty much limited. It was cathartic at first, and I eagerly pounded away whatever so-called deep thoughts or musings I had at the time. I obviously enjoy wearing my heart on my sleeve as far as this parenting thing is concerned.

I still feel good about writing about these singular adventures of mine, but really there is so much that goes on that I'd like to tell but can't or won't - for reasons of privacy, security, or just to stick to my theme.

I remember, when I was painting, how I always said that it takes guts to put yourself - your true self - on the canvas. A lot of us are afraid to be rejected. Same goes for blogging.


Thank God I have a theme. Ha ha!

But going back to the Julia Cameron book, I remember that there were a lot of ideas there that helped get you started on whatever you had to do. It's like I have a to-do list that's unfinished until now. That's kind of how I feel at the moment.


Monday, May 22, 2006


(For Sunday, May 21, 2006)

It's late and I'm short by one post. So here's another quickie: Miguel reunited with his teddy bear. It's the most adorable thing, and I upon my suggestion my mom got it for him 4 Christmases ago. So why "reunited?" Well when he was a toddler he kept on getting colds and rashes, so my then pediatrician had me allergy-proof my son's environment.

That meant restricting certain foods, keeping a food diary, removing the bedside curtains, and banishing Beartrolucci and all other stuffed toys. He also took prophylactic antihistamines until age 4.

Thankfully he outgrew the rashes and has adjusted to previously allergenic foods like chicken, egg, and chocolate. Then a few months back he requested for Beartolucci, so here they are, together again.

It was kinda cute last week when Miguel wanted to play cards with me just as I was about to take a shower. I told him to find somebody else to play with first. So he propped Beartolucci on some pillows on his bed, dealt out the cards, and they played a game. I wanted to take a picture but I was busy in the john :)

Well, you should've seen it.


Tied the knot

(For Saturday, May 20, 2006)

My friend Jayel got hitched last Saturday. Every little detail was planned - the choral music, first marital kiss, photo-ops during the cocktails, video presentations, and table names instead of numbers. He's always been very passionate when it came to his work, and more so when it came to Michal, the love of his life.

Right now they're in honeymoon bliss somewhere in Rome. What can I say, the guy doesn't compromise on his dreams. I really should write more about the wedding some time, but for now let me just say that it was beautiful. I'll just leave you with this snapshot of the flower arrangement at the reception.


Energy Liger is in the room

I've been moving furniture into Miguel's room over the weekend, and it's starting to take shape. Every now and then I asked Miguel to look at the room and tell me what he thinks. Yesterday he said, "Mommy, the more you move things, the less fun it becomes" - referring to my room. I told him, "Miguel, we're transferring the fun from my room to yours."

So late last night I moved more of his toys to the new room, ever-conscious that I was moving out the "fun." Surveying my more spacious room, I have to half-admit that he was right. The robots and action figures are gone, transplanted to a new shelf in his room. That includes Energy Liger, his most prized Zoid, the one that I positively forbid him to break (although it has sustained a few minor damages.)

So now, instead of toys, some of my favorite framed pictures are now displayed on my buffet table. (I don't know what else to call it; it's the same kind of cabinets-and-drawers set that you'd find in a dining room. I had it custom made just so I can display photos on top of it.)

I do feel a bit sad about that. Didn't I write before that he's such a part of me that sometimes I don't know where he begins and where I end?

But move on we must. I'm just as excited to see him grow up and create his own identity and do things on his own. Like this morning when I told him that I found the perfect place to put his clothes hamper - beside the bathroom door. "No," he said, "I want it here between the 2 cabinets."

He ran back into my room, and came back with his personal clothes hamper, dumping it in the place he assigned for it on the other side of the room. Well, who am I to argue - it is his room after all.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Darndest things

Check out the sidebar for the Miguelisms :)

3 women

Yesterday while I was crossing the street I saw a woman carrying a baby. She was beautiful. Mature, but beautiful.

Not alta-sociedad or even sosyal beautiful. She didn't even dress rich, so the safest I could say was that she was probably better off than most. She had shoulder-length hair in loose curls and highlights. Her face was beautiful, but aged by wrinkles around the eyes and sagging jowls. She even wore a bit of make-up. But what struck me most was that she was carrying a baby - a girl, probably a year old.

She walked with a purpose and carried the child in a protective way, as if to say, "this is mine and you can't take it away from me." It made me think that she was the mother of the child.

But as she walked towards me and I got to appreciate her age, I noticed the younger woman beside her and to her rear: twenty-ish, fair-skinned, and simply but neatly dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. She was looking down, watching her step as she followed the older woman.

So I thought, maybe I'm looking at three generations of women here: dominant grandma, docile daughter-in-law, and doted-upon grandchild.

In a moment they were past me. Funny how so short a glimpse can give you ideas about other people's lives.

But honestly, there was something in the way that she carried the child.

I love watching people with their kids. You should try it sometime. People can be oblivious of the general public when they're with young children. Much like lovers behave when they're in Paris. Lots of private moments there.

As I like to say, I love the way we love our kids.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Making space

Well, Miguel's room has been painted and cleaned. Yesterday I left instructions for our household staff to install the curtain rods and move in some of his shelves.

When I entered my room last night, I was amazed - and relieved - to see that it was roomier than before. It's like...Waaaaaah! I can see the wall! I can see the window! It's only now that I realized that my room is so full of furniture (mine and his) that there is absolutely no wall space left.

When your room is so cluttered, your mind gets the same way too. Actually I'll be glad to have my room look like it belongs to an adult again. I'm eager to bring out all those great photos, although I wouldn't mind having a Zoid here and there. I'm making a conscious effort to create some "breathing space" in both our rooms. Looks like I'm in for more housecleaning over the weekend.


New pages

Pardon me for the non-posts for the past 2 days, but I've been tinkering with some code. HTML is a lot like Wordstar, if you're old enough to remember what that is. You just type a code before and after a command.

Anyway, I've made some additions to my sidebar and selected my favorite posts. Feel free to tell me which ones you liked. And being obssessive-compulsive, I've listed my archives by title. Maybe sometime I can post my old artworks (and hopefully some new ones) on the net. Happy browsing!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Obviously I have a lot of time on my hands. So take a look at my new Favorites page, courtesy of Yahoo! Geocities. Just be warned that it's a work in progress; as of now it only has 2 selections.

Did it by copying my Blogger template then doing trial and error. Always wanted to understand this HTML stuff.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I've had this picture for a while. It's from graduation day at Gueli's swimming class. When I first saw it I was amazed at how much he looks like me.

What does it do to a parent to have her child look like her? Does it make her love the child more? Love herself more?

Funny thing is that the moment he was born, I thought he looked like his dad. Maybe all these years with just me has made him more like me.

But as early as now, I already tell him, "You are not your mommy. And you are not your daddy. You are Miguel."

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking we're just like our parents. Well maybe that's not so bad since there are things about them that I admire. But there's some good in knowing that you're different and accepting yourself as so.

Or maybe I'm getting ahead of this identity crisis thing.


Monday, May 15, 2006


You could say that Miguel's having a love-hate relationship with his glasses.

Before going to church he wanted to take them off because "no one might recognize me." Then on the road he was amazed that he could see more signs while wearing them. He likes to take them off while eating. But he needs to wear them while watching TV. And then again sometimes he doesn't want to.

I have to remind him to wear them constantly so that he could see better and hopefully have his vision corrected. Like I said before, his grade is higher than mine - but only slightly. Weird thing about my eyes is that one is nearsighted and the other farsighted.

At least, even without my contacts, my right eye can make up for the blurred vision on my left eye. But all I had to do was cover one eye to see how blurred the world appears to Miguel without his glasses.

But what I like most was what he said, unprompted, while we were driving home from church: "Thank you mommy for getting me glasses. Everything looks bigger now."

Honey, I just wish that I had done this sooner.


Happy Mother's Day!

(For Sunday, May 14, 2006)

I know that it's late but hey it was a hectic day. Not a lot of Filipino families observe this day, but I guess that my family is different.

It was a happy celebration, with complete attendance by the clan. Food lined up was:

    5 kinds of chips
    2 kinds of dips
    baked chicken with cheese and parsley
    pork barbecue
    noodles from Sun Moon Garden
    4 kinds of cake
    2 kinds of ice cream
    ginataang mais (sweet corn cooked with sticky rice)

I guess that my family's BIG on dessert. Good thing that somebody brought me oranges; that means I still stick to my "diet" :)


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Short but not so sweet

I have this little lump on my left wrist. It's the size of a...hmmm...kernel of corn. It's under the skin and fleshy (like a kernel actually). I think I noticed it first about a week ago while helping Miguel wash his hands.

I remember telling myself then that my wrist bone was protruding unusually. It looked strange but I brushed it off because I was always busy. Now I realize that it looked strange because it seems like I have an extra wrist bone!

Well tonight it looks like it got bigger, so i paid attention to it and realized that it's not a bone but a fleshy lump. I'll show it to my bro tomorrow. No need to panic; just need to pray.


Friday, May 12, 2006

I hereby resolve

When you're in an Agency and it's time to produce a commercial, you know that you're gonna be well-fed. That's because prouction houses want to make sure that your tummy is kept in a constant state of contentment - or even ecstasy - so that you're not irritable during a shoot and will hopefully approve all the director's takes.


We've been working with a production house whose executive producer is legendary for serving the best desserts in Manila. You never know what he'll offer next: Strawberry Shortcake, Mango Torte, Marshmallow Cake, Turtle Pie. Of course me and my colleagues protest that he's giving us too much, but we always head to the buffet table to pick up a slice - or two. I feel like a calf being fattened for the slaughter.

Well, just yesterday I had way too much to eat at merienda time (afternoon snack). It was so heavy I decided to skip dinner. I went out with Mike in the evening and was amazed that at 10 pm I was still full.

So today we continued the shoot, and at lunch time Gigi comes in. She's our caster who was recently confined in the ICU because she had suffered a mild heart attack. She's probably only in her late thirties. Needless to say, she has a lot of restrictions when it comes to food.

I had already eaten my leche flan (a sugar-laden egg custard) by the time she came in, but then we predictable started talking about her doctor-imposed diet. It turns out that she has diabetes too, and since I saw firsthand how it ruined my dad's health, I gave her an account of the progression of the disease.

I know it was so hard for her to hold back and stick to her diet in the presence of such delicious fare. She started her lunch and the leche flan was right in front of her, waiting to be devoured.

Then I remembered how disgustingly full I felt last night. And how I need to cut down on sugar so I can avoid diabetes.

Then I just said it. "Gigi, why don't you stop eating sweets. I'll even join you. I'll stop eating cake, ice cream, and chocolates." Of course I made Gigi an excuse, but I know that I can do it. Not just for myself but to set an example for Miguel. Diabetes runs in only one side of my family, both sides on his.

Wish me luck :)


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Two hams on a tube

Although I have hundreds of photos of Miguel, I don't have too many with him. That's because I'm always the one behind the camera, right?

Anyway I asked yaya to snap this picture last week while Miguel and I were swimming. I was lounging in the inflatable while we were shooting at each each other with water pistols, then he got the bright idea of joining in. Well, I'm glad he thought of it...because I don't think I'd allow him to do that at age 8 :)


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Can somebody please tell me what's going on?

Here's another "strange" photo for our archives. Sort of in the spirit of Hit the monkey.

By the way, this picture was taken around early April, before we started cleaning up his room.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Stonehenge addendum

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Miguel's theory on how the monument was built:

"Stonehenge is a giant's building blocks that he forgot to pack away."

We must alert the archeologists and anthropologists at once :D

Hocus focus

So here's the lowdown on Miguel's eye check-up.

After spending close to 4 hours at the American Eye Center, the verdict is this: my little boy has astigmatism, with a grade of -2.50 for both eyes. I was shocked to find out the numbers - turns out his grade is higher than mine. Without my contacts I'd consider myself severely visually impaired; what more him!

The good news is that it might be corrected, since his eyes are still being developed. I just hope that it turns out that way.

The reason the session took so long was because we were checked up by 2 optometrists and 1 opthalmologist. They made us sit on several machines, plus we got a manual refraction. I told Miguel that he still looked cute even with the funny-looking glasses. He was extremely well-behaved in the opthalmologist's examination room, very polite and proper. A proud moment for the mommy.

In between sessions with the optometrist and opthalmologist we looked at a few optical shops to pick out some frames for him. I used to be afraid that he might not want to wear glasses, but I think that wearing those funny glasses made him realize that he really needs his own pair. He quickly grew attached to a blue pair (again, I told him that he cannot have a red one) and I'll be picking it up after 3 days.

So hopefully, now he won't have to go near the TV, or hold a book so close to his face, or lean directly over his workbook when he does an assignment. For him, the world will suddenly be bigger and brighter. Or should I say clearer.

I should know.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Tom Yum

Today I finally opened one of my "goodies" from Bangkok - a cup of ready-to-eat Tom Yum Goong. When I arrived there, one of the first things I did was head for the grocery. I wanted to buy food that I can find only in Thailand, like Frito Lay potato chips in exotic flavors such as Nori Seaweed and Grilled Lobster. Another item was a pack of Tom Yum Goong since I like that dish so much.

Well, sad to say that the cup of instant soup was a disappointment. It was Tom Yum, but as with anything ready-to-eat, the quality suffers considerably. It was nothing compared to the one I had in Siam Paragon.

It was past lunch time on our second day and I was exploring some malls on my own. Being so late, I really wanted to get a bite, and the Siam Paragon food court got good reviews since the mall was only 5 months old.

Turns out the place is a bit high-end, but since I was so hungry (deja vu?) I didn't care about the price. The outlet I went to is like the former Streetlife in Glorietta. Enter, get a card, have it swiped as you order food, and pay as you leave.

Seeing a mouth-watering picture of Tom Yum, I ordered it right away. Only when the dish was served at my table did I realize: Oh, shucks, I'm not in Manila! I saw all the crushed chilis swimming on the surface and realized that I should have asked them to hold back on the spice.

Anyway, since I was in a nice place and they were charging me 3 times what I'd normally pay for a meal, I decided to eat Tom Yum just the way the Thais do: in all it's hot, spicy, mouth-burning, inflaming glory.

I could swear that my mouth was on fire. And now I also know why animators show how spicy a food is by making smoke come out of your ears: while I was eating it I could feel my ear wax melting!

I must say though that it was delicious. At least now I can say that I've had authentic Thai Tom Yum Goong.


Sunday, May 07, 2006


Yes, I think I'm getting neurotic. Less than a month to go before Migueli enters big school. I've already arranged for a school bus service. I've bought the uniforms and am having the pants altered. I've wrapped the textbooks in plastic cover.

I even scheduled a visit to the opthalmologist 'cause I suspect he might need glasses. I just need to label a few things, buy undershirts, socks, P.E. shoes, and a school bag.

Good grief! I even read through the student handbook (certified nerd here) and found out that a "jug" is not necessarily a container for liquid.

I tell you I'm really getting neurotic right now.

And I still have to finalize the plans for his birthday next month.


Saturday, May 06, 2006


Last night Miguel and I had a conversation about Stonehenge, again. He wants to go there. He wants to go to Stonehenge at 1 am during the summer solstice so he can wait for the sun to go up and see it "go on top of his head."

Turns out my mom's been reading those coffee-table books to him at bedtime while I was out of town. God bless her, she's such high-brow grandma :)

Now as a goal, that isn't such a bad thing. I haven't been to Stonehenge myself, but now that he mentions it, I'd like to go too. I told him that we'd have to find a way to go.

Weird thing is, I just had lunch with my colleague Jayel last Thursday. Though he sits only 10 feet away from me, we haven't had lunch together for several months. I asked him where he and Michal were going for their honeymoon after the May 20 wedding. He said that they're going to Rome, London, then Paris. I asked him what he planned to see in London, and he mentioned that he wanted to see Stonehenge - an hour's ride away, he says.

This synchronicity thing is just too uncanny. I really think we've got to find a way to get there.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Favorite foods

I think that I know my son so well. We had this conversation yesterday at the breakfast table, about what his perfect meal is:

Me: I know what your perfect meal is.
Miguel: What?
Me, grinning: Tilapia with rice, churros con chocolate, and strawberry shake.
Miguel: Wrong! My perfect meal is spider, and cockroach, and dirt, and french fries, and grapes with ketchup!

Yuck! Now who would eat grapes with ketchup?

Right now my favorite food is tom yum goong (a longtime favorite), iced lemonade and mangoes for dessert. Mmmmm!

Oh and for the record, Miguel corrected me and said that his favorite meal is chicken and rice, french fries with ketchup, iced tea, and strawberry shake. And which toy would you like with that?


Thursday, May 04, 2006


Gueli's room is now taking form! It's not going to be an expensive project, but my mom already had the paint job started.

It was such a pleasant surprise to come home from Bangkok and see the walls in transition. The ceiling's almost done, and this morning mom and I finalized the color for the walls. Miguel's favorite color is red, but I told him that red walls are out of the question. He didn't seem to mind.

We'll have the bathroom ceiling and walls repainted too to match his room. Good thing because it's overdue for a facelift.

The anticipation is still there but at this point I'm just glad that it's getting done. Since I don't have much to spend I'll just be doing little changes as the weeks go along. Maybe it'll be like my uncle's house that took 10 years to complete :) I guess that we'll just improve as we go along.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Morning pages

There's this book called "The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron. I came across it in 2001 when I took a workshop under Jim Paredes about "releasing the artist within" or "unblocking your writer's block." Something like that. It was one of those groundbreaking workshops, the kind that you never forget. He pours himself into the sessions, and the if you give as well, the more you get back. Lots of memorable stuff happens there, if you allow it. I'd recommend it to anyone even if they're not artists.

Anyway, Jim's modules were based on the Cameron book, and the exercises were very good, challenging you to try something new. The most basic exercise is the morning pages. With apologies to Julia Cameron, it goes something like this: every morning, the moment you wake up and when your mind is still foggy, you grab a pen and a notebook and write. Doesn't matter if garbage comes out; all that matters is that you're producing creative output. The theory, I think, is that quantity is better than quality.

There might be an argument for that, because at least if you push yourself to write everyday, you're bound to come up with a gem sooner or later. And then, you know what they say: practice makes perfect. Same thing holds true for painting. Well, like I say, you really aren't a painter unless you're painting. So I guess you really aren't a writer unless....

Anyway, Pinoy Big Cousin's one-hundred day challenge is something that I could simply consider as morning pages. I think that the longest period that I wrote my morning pages was for 3 months. But I know a director who's been doing it for about 2 years. He even showed me his notebook; he brings it around all the time.

Funny, we're working on a project right now and just yesterday he asked me what my blog address is.

Another thing about doing Jim's workshop back then: when you're in touch with your inner artist, the universe seems to align and a lot of synchronicity happens. Maybe that's why I'm writing now. Maybe that's why he asked. :)


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Shopping and suds

Just got back from the company outing last Sunday. It was a fun, tiring 4-day, 3-night shopping spree. Now this is my kind of clothing allowance: pack up all the employees to Bangkok and give them money to burn. On our first evening, right after our dinner-cruise, people were already itching to hit the Suan Lum night market. Others went to Patphong for the "educational show." I, however, and a few others opted to go back to the hotel. My roommate was out shopping so I had the room to myself for a few hours.

Nice bubble bath waited for me there. Tie up the hair, run the faucet with almost scalding water, pour in the bubble juice, then lie down and soak. Could've used some candles and mood music, but I make do with what I have - selective lighting and the television tuned to the movie channel. That's what I call the art of doing nothing.

When I laid back in the tub and stretched my hands over my head, I heard the strange but familiar sound of bubbles popping around my ears. That's when it hit me: it's been years since I've heard that sound. Then I recalled that the last time I had a proper bubble bath was seven years ago, in Bangkok too.

My memories of that first trip aren't so good. I was travelling with a group of artists called the "Saturday Group" and on our last evening my colleagues had a falling out. What started out as cordial drinking in one of the hotel rooms turned into a public display of dirty laundry. Sigh.

Also, the last time I was in Bangkok I had just discovered I was pregnant, and nobody but my (then) boyfriend knew at the time. It was difficult walking the unfamiliar streets looking for a good place to eat (I was so hungry!) when all the signs and menus were written in Sanskrit.

Well, glad to say that this time out I had a fabulous time. For starters, our hotel (Arnoma on Rajdamri Road) was located right in the heart of the city. Right beside it were a money changer, a mall with a big grocery (Big C) that closed at 11pm, and a really cheap but delicious food court. And all around were middle- and high-end malls.

It was also my first visit to Chatuchak weekend market. As my friend said, "hindi susuko ang Chatuchak - ikaw ang susuko!" (In English, you're going to surrender - due to the sheer size of it.) I was told that it was over one hectare in size, and honey I believe it!

Prices are absurdly cheap when you compare them to Manila's, but then you have to be good at haggling while overcoming the language barrier. By 2pm I decided that I was done with shopping. But since I agreed to meet up with my friend at 3, I ended up spending all my cash by 2:30. I just had enough for the taxi ride back to the hotel in case she didn't show up (to split the cost).

Good thing I left the rest of my moolah in the hotel ;)

So now my attitude towards Manila's tiangges (bazaars) have changed. Just yesterday I was in Greenhills with Miguel trying to pick out a red backpack. When the salesgirl told me the price of the bag that he wanted, I had to qualms about insisting on a really low price. In the end we settled at less than 2/3 the cost.

So you see, travelling really is a learning experience.