Sunday, September 25, 2011

The 5-second rule applies even after 20 minutes

Many, many years ago, my family and I had a great meal at Breakfast at Antonio's, back when it was still at their original scenic hillside spot (which I love and miss every time I think of it) (like now) (*sniff*).

We had all started eating heartily when we heard Dad exclaim: 
Apparently, about half of the German sausage on his plate rolled off and fell on the floor, most likely rolling a bit more until it stopped squarely under our table. We all commiserated with Dad:
After we had finished our individual breakfasts, Dad still looked pretty sad about the wasted food, saying that it was a really big piece that fell. We agreed. He said he wanted to get it (like from under the table, where all our feet were) and try to eat it again. We thought about it for a couple of seconds ... and agreed again.

I don't remember who actually got the sausage from under the table, but I remember we tried to be as subtle about it as possible, so as not to disturb the other diners (or, you know, not to be harshly judged by people who probably have more sense than to retrieve food that has been on the floor for way WAY longer than 5 seconds). I also remember that Dad peeled off the outermost layer of the sausage, because he was really all about hygiene. Har har har. Best of all, I remember that he enjoyed those last few precious bites.

I don't know if there is any big lesson to be learned from this flashback, but if there were, it would probably have something to do with:
  • loving food;
  • not wasting money;
  • not being embarrassed by idiotic but harmless actions; or
  • sticking behind your family's decisions.

Or maybe it's simply about making sure that when you have a terrific piece of sausage, stick a damn fork in it and never let it go.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The perfect thing to say

Very few things give me more inner peace and joy than seeing Martina curled up asleep in my bed. This afternoon, after I woke up from my own nap, I listened to her soft snore for a while and pushed up my pillows against her because she likes that.

She woke up, smiled sweetly and extended her arms to give me a hug. I hugged and kissed the little one while thinking, 'I really love this day.'

Martina then spoke, with her cute, cute voice breaking the silence:
'Tita Eng?' 
'Yes?' I said, expecting some perfect quip to capture the moment. 
' ... You smell like ham.'
Sometimes, I wonder about my life.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Flying flipflops (and something about cramps)

I finally got the chance to experience the Eastwood Mall's Ultra 7 Cinema, which, according to this ad (see left) is the 'ultimate luxury movie viewing experience'.

(Before I go any further, please explain to me why the man is sitting the way he is sitting. Is that supposed to convey 'I am a relaxed man having an ultimate luxury movie viewing experience with my date while awkwardly putting up my foot beside where my drink is supposed to be and hogging the popcorn at the same time'? Because if that is the goal, then ... score!)

I went with a grrrrlfriend who wasn't an Ultra 7 virgin so she was able to explain to me where everything was, 'everything' being the restrooms and the lever to release the footrest. What she didn't reveal was that those suckers do not slowly rise up from the chair – they explode upwards.

When we got to our seats, my friend immediately went into a comfy position with her free popcorn by her side and the seat fully reclined (the seats really do transform into a bed – do not attempt to watch at Ultra 7 if you are even just slightly sleepy unless you want a really expensive purply nap). Meanwhile, I was trying to fight the cold air using only a flimsy shawl for protection. After I acclimatized, I attempted to release the footrest but forgot that I was wearing my flowery flipflops.

Do I even have to tell you what happened next?

After I pulled the lever, my left slipper went flying through the air and down the next level. It was pure providence that no one was hit and that it didn't happen while the movie was showing. There was, however, the problem of retrieving it.

Important bit of info to divulge at this point: My whole family is prone to muscle cramps. Every now and then, we get competitive about who has had the weirdest cramp location (like the 'wala ka sa lolo ko'-type contests*). Regular people get cramps in their legs and feet. I have gotten cramps in my fingers (like while toothbrushing, and then I feel like I will never let go of the toothbrush), little toes (when this happens, it's cute – it looks like two of my toes decided to become best friends and literally lean on each other), chest muscles, tongue (nothing dirty here, it happens when I inspect one side of my oral cavity in the mirror for too long), upper back (like when putting on a sports bra), tummy (I'm sure there are abs underneath the fat), and so on. I think my worst cramping experience was when I had to try on a kind of full-body shapewear that was REALLY tight. I put it on through my head and shoulders (instead of stepping into it like smart people do) and needed the help of my sister to force it downwards. It wouldn't go down smoothly. Instead it gathered into a narrow band across my shoulders and chest. Midway through the struggle, I felt almost all of my main muscles cramping, which was aggravated by laughing loudly at my reflection and my sister who also had the living energy sucked out of her from laughing at my sorry, cramping state. We really had to take a moment (with one of us half-naked, with a black monster of a thing wrapped around most of the top half of her body) and calm down before we finally succeeded.

OK where was I?
Passport pic

So anyway, my slipper was far from me and I couldn't get out of my chair because I couldn't force the footrest downward. Because it was so cold in the theater, my leg muscles were already stiff to begin with, so when I had to use them to push, they just (naturally) cramped up. Once again, there was someone laughing asthmatically beside me while I was suffering in agony and trying to figure out a way out of my seat. All I could do was hug my sore legs and stifle my otherwise loud laugh. I tried again after the cramp subsided a bit but it took more than two attempts before I was able to rescue my footwear.

All in all, it was a good adventure. Luxurious, even. Most importantly, I finally satisfied my curiosity about Ultra 7 and my left slipper finally tasted the sweet joys of air travel.

*Pinoy private joke; I do not accept the challenge of translating or explaining this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Photobombing in a place of peace

Once in a while I learn an expression or word that makes me nod slowly in approval. A few favorites that come to mind include:

  • 'ikaw na!' (applicable in so many situations); 
  • '___ fail' (eg, 'outfit fail' or 'tinola fail' ... but this particular phrase is getting old)
  • the rather profane but perfect 'clusterf**k' (you who introduced me to that word, you know who you are);
  • 'sporn' (those who frequent tennis fan sites should know this); and
  • 'humblebrag' (love LOVE this one!)

Another one I particularly like is 'photobomb'. There are entire websites dedicated to photobombing, some more interesting than others. If you still don't understand what the term means then you are probably over 60 years old. I was imagining trying to explain it to Dad and my head hurt.

Interestingly, I've always been prone to photobombing long before the word was invented. Sometimes I do it consciously (ironically, because I get very photo-conscious) but more often, I ruin an otherwise decent picture without really meaning to do so. Sometimes it's just forgetting to take off sunglasses or being the only one with closed eyes, or something harmless like that. Other times, it's downright stark.

One of the more recent examples took place early in 2010 at a wedding of a friend. This was the picture after we all composed ourselves (and possibly after a round or two of photo-editing):

Nice, right? Decent. Acceptable. Smiley. I'm second from the left.

And then there was THIS:

Inappropriate reaction, anyone?


In fairness to me, no one was ready for that picture anyway (see fish-lips on leftmost friend), but what was that anger flaring from the whites of my eyes? Why was I so enraged? We were at a pretty wedding at the lovely Tagaytay Midlands and we were all in a great mood. What the heck was wrong with me? (Not that I don't ask that every day)

When we analyzed the pic days after the wedding (after my friends recovered from laughing themselves silly over this picture – thanks guys), we realized that there was nothing and no one in the spot where I was looking. We were on an incline, and to the right of this picture was a nice view of mountains. Was I mad at those? Maybe Djokovic was waving on a mountaintop. (*Deleting joke about resisting the urge to push him off*)

So there. Once again I have offered myself up as a willing target. Feel free to laugh in my face the next time you see me. That is, if you want to see that look in real life.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A new blog?

Aww, 'orangeexpress' is already taken at WordPress. Maybe I should stick to Blogger. The interface over at WordPress is so clean and tempting, though.

Why is it always easier to think of clever names for other people?

Anyway, I was thinking of starting another blog for a separate project, which I might (with a 95% certainty) drop after a few weeks. I'm the type of person who starts writing on a brand new notebook and completely forgets to do it after some time. As a result, my room is home to about 5 or so notebooks that are just less than 5% filled (what's with the percentages today?). Starting blogs is just like that, except more earth-friendly (and my writing has gone completely illegible so the move to virtual notebooks is almost essential).

I will post my new blog address if I ever get around to creating one. Feel free to suggest new names in the comments. And, you know, what to write about. Or, you know, just say 'hi'.

There is a 99% chance I will reply.

A quick Mama-related snippet

Today, while researching something, an old Mama memory resurfaced (with apologies to those who have read or heard about this already ... I don't even remember where I posted this).

Mama and older sister Apple were at the mall because Ate needed to buy goggles for Juanchy. They went in different directions, and when they met again, Mama asked:
"Nabili mo na ba yung (Were you able to buy) Google?" 
"Mama ... hindi ko kaya yon (I can't afford that)."

For all your swimming needs

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bruised ears in exchange for an ego boost

So this is the story behind why I have a hotel privilege card which allowed me to do this on my birthday ...

I rarely have patience for sales or telemarketing people who always somehow manage to catch me at a bad time. There have been, however, a lucky handful of them who chanced upon the perfect time to sell me something over the phone. This 'perfect time' is usually when I'm bored but not sleepy, or when I had just accomplished something at work or right after receiving good news. (Should I be bothered that these are very rare times?)

One particular salesperson, who I shall call Judy, was one of the fortunate few. I was feeling particularly happy that I had just submitted something substantial for work and willingly answered an unlisted number calling my mobile phone.

It was Judy (of course it was – I didn't mention her for no reason). Judy was the type of salesperson who talked while smiling widely and ended every sentence with a '!!!'. For instance:
'Ma'am!!! This is a great card with so many privileges, ma'am!!!' 
'Maaa'am!!! You can stay at our hotel for free because I'm going to give you vouchers!!! There are so many vouchers, maaa'am!!!'
It got more interesting when she found out my nickname.
Judy: Ma'am Orange!!! Oh my God, I love your name!!! One voucher allows you to have a ROMANTIC NIGHT at our Tagaytay hotel!!! You can bring your boyfriend!!! 
Me: And how are you so sure I have a boyfriend? 
Judy: MAA'AM!!! With a name like Orange, I'm sure you have a boyfriend!!!
(I checked. I didn't have one.)

Anyway, long story short: I bought the card, partly because, beyond  (despite of?) all the exclamation points, it sounded like a good deal and partly because I had to go back to work. Unsurprisingly, Judy was unnecessarily effusive in her gratitude.
'Ma'am Orange, thank you!!!! Thank you!!! I really love your name!!! I'm going to name my child after you!!!'

Maybe I should've warned her that her offspring would have to live a life hounded by the question 'Where's Apple/Red?' and strange looks, but I just set her on her merry way. I'm sure she would move on to the next potential customer with a fantastic name she would drool over. In any case, I was grateful – I got a seemingly value-packed card and a bit of affirmation to boot. Not bad, Judy. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Too much?)

Where are the exclamation points?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Alone again, unnaturally

Any self-assured adult will tell you that it is rather quite enjoyable being by oneself. Although I am far from being this self-assured adult that I speak of, I, too, enjoy being alone. *I hear the ticking of the clock/I'm lying here, the room's pitch dark ...*

(Show of hands: Who continued singing?)

I didn't always like being alone, but I suppose that was because I was young and afraid (now I'm old and afraid, but with age comes the art of pretending to be what we are not). The first time I had to live away from home was back in med school. I admit (with much shame) that I shed a few telenovela-like tears the first night, while quietly folding my underwear in the part of the rickety drawer assigned to me. My parents visited that weekend, and brought me a bag of Clover chips to heal the sadness. After they left, I sobbed in the bathroom, not so quietly that time.

Over the years, I have grown to like being alone more and more. You might say that I don't have much choice, what with being single and all, but I'd like to think this is one of the happy discoveries during my partner-less phase (phase, life, whatever). I like shopping without being disturbed or pressured, I like eating without having to rush, I like driving with a light car, I like flying without constantly looking for my travel-mates, I like the idea of being quiet without being judged.

This year, to change the usual birthday routine and get some distance between me and my beloved computer, I decided to spend a good part of my birthday alone. My finances did not allow me to spend a full weekend somewhere far (truth: I was too lazy to book a ticket) so the next best thing was to check in at a nearby hotel and put my newly acquired privilege card to good use. More on the history of that card later.

Recipe for a good birthday afternoon

I loved that day. After breakfast and lunch (which were just 2 hours apart, I realize now) with family, I started my birthday solitude. I spent the whole afternoon at the almost-empty hotel lounge (apparently, I was the only one in the mood to drink at 3 pm). I had a thick book and a coupon for free drinks – what else could I have asked for? Free peanuts (you thought that was a rhetorical question?)! And I got those too. I don't remember the last time I felt that peaceful and relaxed and satisfied with life. Like I said, I loved that day. (Except maybe for the part when I had to use all of my willpower to walk like a sober person back to the hotel room.)

Of course the next best thing to being contentedly alone is spending time with people who really want to be with you and vice versa. I got that too when Juancho and Martina invaded my once-quiet, once-clean hotel room the next day. Not that I minded. What's a birthday without a little chaos?

Chaos in the best gift tag ever