Monday, December 15, 2014

A 'haha' in the middle of a 'huhu'

It was my most dreaded day. A day that I thought would be described as 'sad' at best, but turned out to be more like one endlessly, heartbreakingly painful ordeal.

It was the day Joemar died.

After his last breath on that sad 4th of September (and after I regained my sense of responsibility), I texted our close mutual friends and my sisters about what happened. My sisters and my parents, who all loved Joemar as well, were in the United States at the time. It was before 5 am in their part of the world.

Mia, our youngest and the New York resident, was first to read the message. She immediately burst into tears and tried to wake Apple, who was sleeping on the couch. Naturally, it was a futile effort, so Mia tried the other people in her home.

When she entered my parents' assigned bedroom, Dad was packing because it was their last day in Mia's apartment.

[This is an important fact: It was their last day in New York. Just had to emphasize it. You may proceed.]

Mia, while hysterically sobbing, hugged my hearing-impaired father [<--Another important fact] and told him the news about Joemar.

In response, my Dad tearfully said ...

"We'll miss you too, Mia."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAaaaaa ... *fade out*

So upon realizing that Dad thought she was crying over her family's departure, Mia went to Mama and explained what was going on. Third time's a charm.

And then they all cried.


Ummm, I don't know how to give this story a happier ending, so here's a video of a baby bewildered by twins. You're welcome.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mama in New York (Part 2)*

Mama, Dad and sister Apple watched Wicked for the first time in New York this year. To the surprise of no one, they all loved it – including my father, who admitted later on that he did not understand a thing.

So when they got back home, Apple tried to explain bits of the play to Dad (this, to me, was the real surprise: that Ate actually paid attention) (LOL).

[Warning: 'Wicked' spoilers ahead]

Apple, speaking to Dad: (paraphrased) Some characters in Wicked became characters in the Wizard of Oz. For example, Fiyero became the Scarecrow, and Boq became the Tin Man. And then we saw Dorothy on the yellow brick road ...

Mama, the person who allegedly understood the play: (not paraphrased) So what happened to Alice in Wonderland?

(I'll let that sink in for a bit.)


My mother – defying both gravity and logic.

Elphaba became the Mad Hatter

*You can read Part 1 here.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Mama in New York (Part 1)

Mama, Dad and older sister Apple were in New York in September to visit younger sister Mia. It was also US Open season so they were able to see a couple of games, much to my tennis-loving parents' happiness (Just an FYI: Apple couldn't care less about tennis, but she had nowhere else to go anyway. #shouldvebeenme).

One time, while just chilling in Mia's place, they caught one of Serena's matches on TV. You'll need to know that at the US Open this year, Ms Williams (who eventually won the slam) was wearing this:

Or sometimes this:

OK then.

So this is the conversation that followed after my mother, who was a teacher for most of her adult life, saw Serena for the first time:

Mama: Wow, tiger outfit!

Apple: Wrong animal, Ma. Try again.

Mama: Oh yeah ... I meant



L to R: Lion, Tiger (Not in photo: Serena's outfit)
You're welcome, Mama.

Monday, September 15, 2014

All the world's a (free) stage

It was September 5, 2014. A day had passed since my best friend Joemar decided to pack up his bags and move to a better, higher place. I promised his family I would buy some of the supplies we needed for the wake so as soon as I had some free time, I headed for SM Hypermarket, the most convenient option at the time. We had just a few hours to get the chapel ready.

Speed-shopping while in the depths of sadness was one of the more surreal things I've ever had to do in my life. I shed some tears in the aisle reserved for party items, deciding between smaller versus bigger (allegedly) biodegradable plates as though making the right choice would bring my friend back. After what seemed like a very long time staring at disposable cups and paper towels, I queued up to pay for the stuff that somehow ended up in my basket.

A smiley SM cashier started to ring up my items. She then asked me a question that seemed innocent enough:

"Do you have a free stage card?"

"A what?" I asked.

"A free stage card," she repeated.

A free stage card. A free stage card? Did I have a free stage card? What is a free stage card? Was I too sad to understand what a free stage card was? Did all those sleepless nights finally kill off my remaining neurons? Maybe I HAD a free stage card but had completely forgotten.

After a few long seconds of staring at the lady (who really just wanted to do her job well, I might add), I figured out that she was referring to this:

And at that moment, as I felt a small smile involuntarily forming on my lips, I had a feeling that things would be OK somehow.



PS. Joemar would've loved this story (and probably has that card).  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

You can't handle the tooth

[To understand this anecdote, the only thing you need to know is that we live in Pasig, which suffered from an inexplicable mosquito deluge a few months ago. Also, there are many plants and trees in our garden and backyard, which might explain the number of insects that frequent our home despite the screens. So, to recap: our home = insect city. You may proceed.] 

When I saw Martina last week, she gave me the biggest toothy smile about 2 inches from my face. She didn't stop until I noticed that she had lost another one of her front teeth.

"Wow, Marteens! Did the tooth fairy visit?" I asked.

"Yes. I got 60 pesos ... but I really wanted 100."

"I don't think you should complain," I said, preachily. "When we were kids, we got zero pesos when we lost a tooth."



Then, after a longish pause and staring blankly for a minute, Martina excitedly said:

"I know why the tooth fairy never visited. Because she's afraid of mosquitos."

How to end a story

Monday, May 12, 2014

Practically speaking

The fateful day has arrived. Juancho has started to read my blog (hi Juanchy!). Ulp.

I warned him that there are a LOT of stories about him and Martina in here. He said, yes, he saw. He said the one about the 'wist' was funny.

Martina overheard and asked, 'What's a wist?' Then, to my surprise, Juancho proceeded to paraphrase the entire blog entry, including all my extra comments, which just goes to show that he deserves an award for reading comprehension. Paging Xavier (the school, not the Professor)!

After that 'wist' retelling, Juancho told Martina, 'Do you know that as of today, we are 5 years apart? I'm 12 now and you're still 7. Five years!'*

Martina: Yeah, PRACTICALLY.

Me: Wow! Big word. Good job.

Martina: I actually don't know what it means.

[laughter from everyone, loudest laugh from me]

And then ...

Juancho: You have to blog this!!!

Ergo, this.

The pressure to make more blog entries begins. Ulp #2.

*They are just 4 years apart, but Juancho's birthday comes earlier in the year. 'Did I really have to explain that?' I ask myself.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Things that make me smile (and overweight)

My 11-year-old nephew Juancho and 7-year-old niece Martina seem to be on some kind of dessert theme recently. Maybe my love of sugar is rubbing off on them. (I never claimed to be the best influence on anyone.)

We had a family thing on Sunday so I saw the kids that night. After Juanch greeted me and gave me a kiss, he said I smelled like cookies.

'Is that good or bad?' I asked precariously.

'It was a compliment.'

'Oh thanks,' I said. 'What kind of cookies?' (Tag: Important questions in life)

'The ones you make.'

Which I guess meant I smelled of stress and shortening.

AKA coping mechanism

Last night was Martina's turn to amuse me. To try and fall asleep, she was looking at a cupcake book on my bed while I was working outside.

After leafing through some pages, she excitedly ran out the room and asked, 'Did you watch the Vegas episode of Modern Family?!'

(She didn't really say it exactly that way because she calls the TV show 'Modern and Family'. Please don't ask me to explain. I have nothing.)

'No, why?'

'I found a Vegas cupcake!!!'

She then ran back inside to get the book and show me the page. After a few seconds, I heard her shouting again from the bedroom.

'Forget it. It's not Vegas. It's VEGAN.'


I love these kids. (Tag: Bias)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Neck and neck

Apparently – and I was not aware of this until recently – Mama and Dad are in a prize-less race to accumulate the most bloopers within my lifetime.

I used to think Mama would be the clear winner (because of stories like this and this), but Dad is one competitive alpha male. Ergo, at present, it's pretty much [insert blog entry title here] [#laziness].

Yesterday, as we were leaving the relatively new Robinsons Magnolia, Mama happily observed:
"Uy! Meron palang Cuma dito!"
Which was, naturally, this:

Dad, on the other hand, was admiring one of Mama's bags and started reminiscing about the time he bought it for her.
"Maganda 'tong bag na 'to. May nabili din akong shoes dun eh. Sa Calhoun."
Which was, obviously, this:



The race continues.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

NOT a spoiler for Frozen

Dad finally got to watch Disney's Frozen over the weekend. Or so we thought. 

[While the LAST scene was unfolding...]

"Ah magkapatid ba sila?" 
(Translation: "They're sisters?")

Ka. Boom. 

The 30 little pigs

It's been so long since I needed to tell Juancho or Martina a bedtime story. I miss those times a lot. There are several old blog entries here about those stories, but the one about the Two Little Pigs is relevant today.

That's because I found an old audio file of Martina telling me another pig story from more than 2 years ago, when she was just 5 years old.

(Note: I had to convert the recording into a movie because Blogger won't let me upload an audio file. Kindly do not expect a dazzling montage. Except for the first one, these are pics from the year that the storytelling transpired. I'll edit this someday, maybe?)

If you don't have time to listen to it, here is a rough transcription. I'm the one interrupting her (in parentheses). I urge you to listen to it though – the text doesn't capture the cuteness enough. Hers not mine.


(Can you start your story again?)

The story is about … the story today is … the 20 little … the 30 little pigs!

(That’s a lot.)

The 30 little pigs, their mommy said, build your own houses.

Then the first pig went to get some straw from the [???]. Can I have some straws please? He said OOOKAYYY!

Then the second pig he build a house with sticks. Can I have some sticks please? Oh SURE!

And after that the third pig, he build a roof, but it was made out of bricks.

And then there was a wolf!

(Wait I thought there were 30 pigs?)


Then the wolf blow the first … I mean and after that the fourth pig build it with soooome … spaghetti!

And after that … then the fifth pig, he already made a house out of some paper!

Then after that, the seventh little pig, he build it out of curtains!

And the eighth pig, he build it out of doors!

And after that, the ninth pig, he build it out of windows!

Then the tenth, build it out of bicycles!

Then the other pigs, the other pig, he made it out of [???]!

(What happened to the wolf?)

We’re going to continue that later.

And the other pig, he build it out of the fan!

The other pig, he made it out of aircon!

And then the next pig, he made it out of a bed!

(I think you have to end the story now. What’s the ending?)

And the wolf, he came and blowed all the [???].

Then the pigs went to the brick house then he couldn’t catch any of the pigs.


(Great story!)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wicked x 2

[If you know nothing of the musical 'Wicked' and still plan on watching it, stop reading. You may want to read my old entries though. Just a suggestion. Feel free. Or wait until my next new entry. Which may or may not be written in the next 5 years.]

I first watched Wicked the musical when I vacationed in Chicago many years ago. I really wasn't expecting much that night – I just wanted to finally see it after hearing that it was good, won a few awards, etc, and I was happy to spend quality time with my sister Mia who worked in Illinois that time. Little did I know that it would turn out to be one of the most clever stories ever (versus Dirty Dancing the musical, which we also watched during that trip by the way) with a score that I thought was so ridiculously appealing and heart-wrenching. It was so effectively emotional that when the first notes of 'For Good' started, I was already bawling like a woman in labor. (Full disclosure: I have never been in labor.) (Fuller disclosure: I am always effectively emotional. Ka-boom.) To this day I cannot listen to a recording of that song without tearing up like the Pavlovian cliche that I am.

So when I found out Wicked was going to be staged here, I was excited. Maybe a little bit more than excited. Maybe I let out a tiny shriek of delight. Maybe. There is no proof of this anywhere.

There were two major differences between the Chicago version and yesterday's.

The first was, thanks to the kindness of a friend, we were able to get seats five rows away from the awesome stage. It was great being so near the actors, seeing the costume details and the twinkle in Glinda's eyes. It was magical. I think back to some local showbiz-folk–filled musicals, and I'm grateful that I didn't pay more to see poor acting up close. (Pay me and I'll tell you what I'm talking about.)

The second doozy of a difference was that I heard another version of Wicked while the play was ongoing because I was seated beside an official theater narrator for the dense. Or maybe he was just a man ... who brought his 3- or 4-year-old son.

[According to the ticket printout, children below 6 weren't supposed to be allowed in the theater, so I don't know how the parents of a child who should be watching the Disney Junior channel deemed him mature enough to handle unfortunately colored protagonists, extramarital affairs and classic unrequited love. Flying monkeys do not necessarily make a musical wholesome. Just an FYI to parents. From a nonparent.]

The young boy, who was curious of course (click here to read about another question-filled child), unceasingly asked his father 'why' throughout the show. And I mean throughout the entire show. UNDERSCORED! BOLD AND UNDERSCORED!!!
Why is she green? 
Why is she angry? 
Why did she say that? 
Why, pray tell, can't I find more similarities to the original 500-page Gregory Maguire novel that you gave me for Christmas, father? 
OK, maybe not that last one, but I promise you, it was the only question left unanswered that night.

On the one hand: What the hell, papah? Isn't it common sense to be as quiet as possible while a show is ongoing? I mean I did my share by vehemently slapping my friends when they attempted to sing along (Kidding. I used duct tape on them before the show started.) OK, to his credit, the father tried to whisper, but because my right ear was just about a foot away from his mouth, I heard everything. Looking back, I probably should've asked him to speak softer or move farther away, but I felt bad for the boy and I didn't want him to think that asking questions was wrong.

On the other hand: The guy knew the answer to everything. I was this close to asking him about how to dissolve the culture of corruption and entitlement in the Philippine political arena.

I was determined to enjoy the afternoon anyway so, being the extraordinary person that I am (BOLD AND UNDERSCORED!!!), I was able to tune out the Q&A beside me and focus on the main show.

... which might not have been the best plan after all, because I was crying so much by the last song that I was half-expecting the little boy to ask his father what in the world was wrong with the strangely emotional lady.

I'll explain it to you when you turn 6, child. Until then, just stick to adult musicals.