Friday, October 19, 2007

random thoughts about a birthday girl

- when mia was just a kid (ie, she used to be a goat), i coerced her to play weird games with me to test just how powerful i was as an older sister. one of my faves was 'robot', where i twisted her arms and legs into awkward positions and she had to hold the pose until i moved them again. naturally, most of the time, i had her looking like a cockroach going towards the light. she never complained. it's amazing why she didn't naturally gravitate towards yoga in adulthood.

- although i never saw it, one of the best (and the term 'best' really depends on whether you are mia or not) events involving mia was when she dove down a flight of stairs at my med school graduation, with two male ushers witnessing the whole gut-wrenching scenario. there's something about slapstick that appeals to me. if the vision of a skinny teenager sliding chest-first down some steps doesn't make you chuckle just a teeny tiny bit, then ... well, um ... i'm sorry.

- mia has really bad dysmenorrhea spells and has, more than once, writhed on my bedroom floor in agony. being the sympathetic sister that i was, i usually laughed at the sight for a few minutes before ordering her to take meds. for one of the last episodes, i gave her an unusually strong pill lying around the house (dad = family drugstore), which cured her in about 4 seconds and provided about an hour of happiness. i think her pain came back after that but i was too busy sleeping to notice.

- i used to call mia 'the human period'. when she was just a little taller than the dining table, her head looked like a bobbing black dot when she walked beside huge pieces of furniture. nowadays, she's more like an inverted exclamation point. which just neatly sums up her personality, actually. how convenient.

- mia forced me to memorize the lyrics to 'ghost' by the indigo girls. and for some reason, i did it. and we sang it together. a lot. because we were divas in a past life. to this day, i'm still not sure what the song is about. apparently, the mississippi's mighty, but it starts in minnesota ... at a place that you could walk across with five steps down. believe it.

- my older sister and i always remind mia that she was the only sister who took ballet and jazz as a child (i took up jazz dance in high school – wait, maybe that's worse). we loved watching her attempts at doing a pas de burre (how DO you spell that?) because we knew we had more fodder for later mocking. our eldest sister was a brutal bully extraordinaire who preyed on every little flaw. i was really glad mia was born because the attacks were finally diverted after 8 very long, very lonely years (thanks, mia).

- mia prepared the best birthday surprises for me. this year she held most of my friends, a few choice acquaintances and some complete strangers at gunpoint (in a gas-filled room) and forced them to send birthday greetings to a special birthday email address. on my birthday, when she was giving me the password for checking the new emails, all i could say was, 'huh?' i react inappropriately when i'm shocked or happy. i was both.

- my younger sister can make the best posters and piƱatas and whatever arts-and-crafts things we needed in life. she and my other sister got all the visual arts genes. when mia had to leave and work in chicago, i panicked: WHO IS GOING TO DECORATE THE CHRISTMAS TREE??? all i can do is make a decent table in microsoft word. yey me.

- on our last day together in chicago, where i had to leave her so she could work her arse off in the freezing cold, she woke me up at some ungodly hour with tears in her eyes and said goodbye. i had to shake myself into consciousness and found myself bawling uncontrollably a second later. note to self: it's never a good idea to sob like an idiot first thing in the morning. we hugged and then she left for work. i cried a bit more and felt sorry for myself for losing my strange sister to a strange city. then i passed out again on the couch. sleep trumps despair sometimes.

i heart mia. and i'm sure that despite all the childhood torture and weird memories, she hearts me too.

happy birthday, gross.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

the price of a happy childhood

juancho had just come from a playdate with friends when i interviewed him.

me: did you have fun?

juancho: yes!

me: did you play with their toys?

j: yes!

(he's a 5-year-old boy of few words. when i ask him what he learned in school that day, he usually replies with, 'i forgot.')

me: what kind of toys did they have?


when i called his mother (mah sistah) later on about how they were teaching their children the wrong values (haha. kidding. i just called to ask if she had a pedicure lately), she said she didn't know why juanch knew that the toys were expensive. he was right, too. maybe he's a prodigy. i should find a way to get him on 'the price is right'.

when i was a kid, whatever toys i DIDN'T have were the expensive toys. i think my costliest toy was a small, pink 'my melody' rubber ball from sanrio. from gift gate in greenhills.


if those words don't trigger a happy flood of memories, you're: (1) too young; (2) too old; (3) not a filipino who grew up in manila; or (4) a leech on its deathbed. (sorry, the leech story was such a hit, i had to mention it again.)

i remember smelling that pink ball a lot because it smelled of EXPENSIVE TOY. or maybe it just made me HIGH? i was too young to know. maybe i DID have an ecstatic childhood after all.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

parasite insights: just another typical family dinner

during a rare dinner with just me and my parents, i experienced another one of those moments when i pause and wonder: "how in the world did i survive my childhood?"

mother goose and dad were sitting across me in the restaurant booth and we were getting ready to pay the bill (and by "we were", i mean "i was"). mother was fiddling through her bag to get her senior citizen card for the much-welcome discount.

with her hands still in the bag, she opened her wallet, suddenly let out a low-pitched "gah!" and quickly threw something onto our table. before i could ask what it was, i saw the culprit.

it was a leech ... which was then writhing in slow mo on the tabletop.

a leech.

from her wallet.

inside her bag.

after a few long seconds of disbelief and staring at the hapless invertebrate, my dad smashed it with his table napkin.

mama: maybe that was the leech from this afternoon!*

(apparently – and really quite unsurprisingly, considering this was my family involved – there had been another leech incident in their bedroom earlier on)

... but you killed that one, right?

dad: yes. how did another leech get into your bag???

mama: i don't know. maybe because my bag was beside the window?

(note that the window in question has a screen)

(note, also, that the whole time this conversation was going on, i was just silently watching this exchange of almost unearthly sentences)

mama: (sensing something was amiss or forgetting she had already asked) but you killed the leech you found, right?

dad: well ... i didn't exactly kill it. i just flicked it away.

and now i'm going to stop the story for a moment to point out an important life lesson:

boys and girls, if you want to get rid of small, blood-sucking creatures that are not even supposed to be INDOORS, do not simply "flick them away". FLICKING DOES NOT KILL. nor does it evict such creatures from your room IF YOU FLICK THEM TOWARDS A SCREENED WINDOW.

after dad had successfully gotten rid of the "second" leech, my mother shared a golden afterthought:

"it's a good thing i didn't put it into my mouth."

which broke my silence because i had to shout,

"WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT??!!! why would you put a strange object FROM YOUR WALLET in your mouth???"

"i thought it was food."

how does one argue with this kind of logic? that is the question.

me: even if it were food, you found it inside your wallet. WHY would you eat it?

mama: i didn't want it to go to waste.

props to my mother, the conservationist. who knew?


later on that night, because i couldn't let it go, i asked my mother again why, after finding an unidentified thing in her wallet, her first impulse was to put it in her mouth.

"i don't know. when i was touching it, it felt like one of those soft candies you like. you know, like GUMMI GUM."


oh mother goose. you're so good for my lungs. this is why i've forgiven you for naming me after a citrus fruit.

*whole conversation translated for international readers and the leech community. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

a really useless entry with the word "kisses" in it

i break this blog's unintentional coma to post a possibly soul-altering question:

what is the little strip of translucent paper wrapped around hershey's kisses for?

(here's a second or two so you can think about it for a while.)

i mean ... does it help you unwrap the chocolate? because if you're having serious trouble removing the foil wrapping, then i will leave you alone, as you probably have bigger problems than wondering about chocolate packaging. as a part-time obsessive-compulsive person, i enjoy every wasted second of carefully opening the smooshed up foil to reveal the joy that is inside – ergo, when it comes to this part of eating chocolate, i don't need help. (ask me about other things i may need help with though. you might come in handy.)

does it help remind the eater as to what kind of kisses he or she is eating? maybe. did trees really have to die for chocolate labels?

incidentally, i just found out you can order special kisses with customized strips. i'll bet someone somewhere has proposed marriage using specialized kisses. so i guess in some parts of the world, the strip has meaning. awww.

i should rename this blog "a hundred and one ways to prove that my life is insignificant".

Sunday, July 01, 2007

a ridiculously boring blog revival with the word 'sexy' in it

i like how wannabe creative writers (such as ... um ... me, actually) see rare opportunities to get published and go for it.

i was eating choco crunchies, which are chocolate-covered cookies that happen to be one of my favorite snacks from childhood. as my eyes drifted towards the box flap, i was pleasantly surprised to read:

"If desired, these delicious fancy milk chocolate biscuits may be chilled before serving."

it's not the best sentence construction, but still. someone let it rip. someone was not satisfied with "for best results, chill before serving."

aylavet. the cookies AND the unnecessary words.


and speaking of unnecessary words? i'm trying to revive my blog.

a quick rundown of my life-thoughts since my last entry:

1. martina is now 1 year old. she's an adorable little (and i do mean LITTLE) baby tazmanian devil. she likes licking the underside of shoes and scratching the face of whoever is holding her until the carrier screams in agony.

2. i loved melinda doolittle of american idol. she got booted out before the finals. life is never fair. ever.

3. i, who used to fall asleep after 2 seconds of watching tennis, can now stay awake until 3 am watching matches. why? one word: RAFAELNADAL. i heart sexy. (i never said my life was meaningful.)

4. i eat too much clover chips (again, another childhood favorite ... and again, something no one really needs to know).

5. work is – quite possibly – controlling my life.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

how to mess with a child's head

juancho (4-year-old nephew whose name is mentioned too many times in this blog) entered my room the other day with a mission.

juancho: mom wants to borrow a small nail cutter! she's going to cut my baby sister's nails.

me: ok, here. oh tell your mom it's not really that sharp.

juancho: ok! (starts to run away)

me: WAIT!!! don't run!!!

juancho: why?

me: because it's sharp.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

maybe this is about work. maybe not.

it was a night just like any other night. i was chatting with my friend based in new york, who was then looking at a mag devoted to single people.

carrie (note to "carrie": good alias, huh?): ooo! a quiet party!

me: whassat?

carrie: oh. quiet party. you meet new people in a bar. no music. no one talks. it's dark. and you just pass each other notes.

me: (after a short pause) ... how do you read notes in the dark?

i guess i should be disturbed that i was more concerned about reading difficulties than other more crucial issues in that rather unconventional scenario. i could've asked about the percentage of meeting decent people or the risk of encountering sociopaths or sexual predators or ANYTHING. but no.

does this mean i work too much?

maybe. because just this afternoon, i was more disturbed by a glaring grammatical error on a restaurant poster than the fact that i semi-tripped in the middle of the road, causing one of my flip-flops to fly ... which consequently stopped traffic because i had to, of course, reclaim my precious footwear.

fyi? walking barefoot on asphalt is not a pleasant experience.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

les whiz

apparently, lea salonga is returning to broadway, this time as fantine of les miserables.

repeat after me: les miserables. les miz. got it? good. it will come in handy later on.

anyway, my dad and i saw the front-page news item about lea's comeback at the same time.

dad: wow! who is fantine?

me: (desperately trying to recall the story) (i came up with random thoughts of bread, the all-too-popular, near-suicidal song about unrequited love, and ... some old guy) i really don't remember much. i think she was the one who loved someone.

(if i could've been vaguer, i would've gone for it.)

dad: wasn't she the one who was kidnapped?

me: (still hesitant and suddenly having self-doubts) kidnapped? i don't remember a kidnapping ...

dad: you know, the one who was kidnapped by the PHANTOM?