Sunday, November 27, 2005

calling a spade a spade

imposter shades
Originally uploaded by odeguzman.

this was one of the stalls at a new york street fair we stumbled upon a few weeks back.

honesty. gotta love it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

moved by mascots

seeing mickey mouse at the magnificent mile lights festival last saturday was a thrill, to put it simply – partly because it was amazing that we had a good view, in spite of the 4 trillion chicago peeps who were also out that night, and partly because it felt like Christmas already.

but mostly because i get emotional around cuteness. and i don't mean orlandobloom-type cuteness. but then again ...

back to the issue at hand.

i remember when we took juancho (then still speech-free) to the mall so he could see elmo and some other sesame street characters. it was a long wait, but we were patient and stayed for what seemed like a very long time, especially for the one actually CARRYING juanch, who then weighed more than the legal limit of infant weight.

suddenly we saw him. elmo. waving from the third floor.

at that time, i felt an inexplicable but inevitable feeling growing inside my chest (no, it wasn't phlegm), and my tears started flowing.

of course, my younger sister (also an adult, technically) who was right beside me was crying too. "it's elmo!" we whispered reverently, in a tone that should be reserved for the second coming.

(incidentally, juancho cried too, but i suspect it was related to hunger.)

this kind of phenomenon has no explanation. in the same way that you cannot explain why fully grown people converge at a parade to wave wildly and scream at a mascot, as though they were really seeing goofy or donald duck or mickey.

it's crazy. especially because everyone knows the real mickey is in anaheim.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

twice the fun, double the pain

carlo and franco
Originally uploaded by odeguzman.

one of the most enjoyable experiences so far in the US is meeting my twin 6-year-old nephews (sons of a cousin), carlo and franco. to illustrate how sweet these kids are: immediately after we first met, carlo (or maybe it was franco?) waited patiently outside the bathroom door – while i was using the toilet, mind you – with arms outstretched, holding a plate with a lone corndog on it.

the gesture was gross on some level but sweet overall.

after that, franco handed me and my sister mini chocolate bars and showed us where their stash was. "this is where the chocolates are but we can't eat them because we're allergic to peanuts."


one other thing i learned quickly about these twins is they are quite violent. i don't think they mean to be. maybe it's just too much adrenalin stuffed in small bodies? that first day i met them, i received more punches and kicks than i did in the 3 years i've played with juancho (meek 3-year-old nephew. see past entries.).

at one dinner, carlo decided to sit on my lap and use me as his instant exercise machine. he grasped my hands, put each of his legs under mine and swung his so that he was, in effect, kicking my calves with his bare feet to swing my legs. it was almost like a strange marionette show. quite funny, really. that is, up until his left foot slid and his heel landed squarely on my shin.

and that's when i screamed.

"what happened!?" carlo asked.

"you hit my shin!"

he looked concerned and showed his remorse by offering me the chance to take revenge. "hit MY shin! c'mon! hit my shin!!!" and got on his feet to present his sacrificial shin to me.

"i'm not going to hit your shin, carlo," i said.

"no, please! hit my shin! HIT MY SHIN!!!"

franco, who was within hearing distance all that time, purposefully walked over and gave his twin brother's chin a good whack.

and that's when i screamed again. ok, maybe half-screamed, half-laughed.

"franco, his shin! not his CHIN!"

ah, the magic of brotherly love.

when we all calmed down, carlo gave me a truly inspired message:

"you know, if i wore a hard shoe with a really pointy heel, it would have hurt more."

thanks, carlo. i'm counting my blessings.

the cold truth

what i learned about cold weather (and me IN cold weather):

- when you have more than two layers of clothing on (and one is an especially thick jacket), you cannot feel your bag on your shoulder. so you have to check every now and then to see that you actually still have your bag. that is, if your fingers can still feel anything.

- it is tough to match layers. my new preoccupation is staring at my clothes (and my sister's), trying to figure out what can go with what. my auntie thought i was praying the first time she caught me staring at the closet. in the short time i've been in chicago, i've already had two nightmares about clothes.

- it is very convenient (fashion-wise) to live in a country that has no real seasons. it's fun to buy tank tops when everyone else is looking at coats.

- it is not wise to wear lipstick when the collar of your white jacket is flapping against your lips. (to the owner of the white jacket: don't worry. this learning is not based on experience. it just hit me – the collar, the thought AND the wind – while walking home.)

- it's true that you shouldn't scratch your eyes after handling hot peppers. i've washed my hands twice and i still felt the sting after i poked my cornea. (ok, this wasn't about cold weather, but i figure i might as well share the learning while i'm at it! OOOUCH!!!)