Monday, September 04, 2006

return to pooh corner

these were the days when anything was possible. you can go hiking and get lost in the caves with no baby to worry about or a husband to mind. the days when flabs are non-existent and household expenses were the least of your concerns.

such was also the time for love and madness. i came to sagada to nurse a bleeding heart. i went out of it with a heart that's grown brave enough to risk loving all over again. the whole experience was enthralling and humbling, and it would certainly be foolish not to risk occasional falls and slips for the grandeur that is sagada, for the glory that is life.

life is much bigger than your personal woes - real or imagined.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

without a dad

when the news about your visa approval came out, we were exhilarated! finally, the opportunity to work abroad - a chance that was postponed for a number of times - had finally come!

then we started imagining big bucks and financial independence, of big toys and leisure travels, of a house of our own and an ideal business. life was good and we can't wait for your definite departure date.

and it was set - aug. 7. suddenly everything else seemed to be going on a fast-forward mode. while there were occasional bouts of 'i'm starting to miss you' syndrome, they didn't last long as there were so many things to be done especially at work. the reality only sets in when you come to bed in the dead of the night finding julian and me peacefully asleep.

then the most awaited (and dreaded) day came. trying as hard as we can to suppress the tears and mask the secret woes, beads of tears still managed to escape and continued to pour in as you put all your luggage in the cab. julian was too young to understand what was going on and a simple 'bye dad' was all he needed to continue playing and move on with his life.

sometimes, i wish i had never lost such childhood innocence - not so much to shield me from harrowing adieus but to give me faith strong enough to trust that my dad is certainly coming back home for me. and that everything will be alright, as he promised. i wish i never had to fear the unknown.

but this is the choice we made, knowing fully well that we cannot find our truest selves unless we pursue our so-called 'personal legend' - whatever that may be for both of us now.

and so be it. maktub.

Monday, June 19, 2006

sense of urgency

when i started creating this blogspot account, i was only 3 units shy of my mpa degree - those 3 units, for your information, took me 3 agonizing years (or more) to complete. you should have seen the look on my face when i was finally able to submit it to my patently exasperated professor who was pressured by fellow graduating students to immediately grade their looooong due paper on quantitative analysis just to be able to join the commencement exercises. you would've thought i won the nobel peace prize! believe me, it was far more gratifying than receiving my pseudo-diploma on graduation day!

after almost four years of riding the UP campus jeepney, the most vivid lesson that stuck in my head dealt not with anova tests nor with policy process formulation (much to the chagrin of my professors?) - it is knowing what you want most in life and breaking into tiny steps the seemingly impossible big leap you have to take to get it. it is one's sense of urgency that really gets things done - not the loftiness of one's dreams nor the power of one's prayers (although the latter cannot be underestimated).

more importantly, it is having a greater purpose in life - one that can see you through the rough spots and bumpy rides; one that will force you to open your eyes and think while your sleepy eyes stare blankly at the blank screen; a much higher goal that can far outweigh all the hassles and pains you will be going through; one that constantly pushes you to pursue your dream not later, not tomorrow, nor next week. but now. you have to have such dream that cannot wait.

as for me, it is just a simple burning desire to find the real rhoda in my son's mom.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

the sofa disaster

i'm in a mad rush to scout for a sofa - again. what's with this piece of furniture, you might ask.

well it started when i noticed how the narra-framed sofa (which we in a way inherited from guano's mom) was no longer reflecting my personal taste. its fading green color screams of the word boring and its chunky rounded cushioning just makes you slide everytime you sit on it.
its sturdy narra arm rest had often been the culprit for my son's bumps.

so i thought it's time to give it a face-lift. i rushed to dial the upholsterer's number and surprisingly, she came to my house that same night to check on the sofa. it ended with her taking the sofa to her shop and me ordering a special thai-inspired almost bed-sized divan with large pillows for a backrest. my friend and i saw this at the hilton in huahin and we instantly fell in love with it! it allows you to lie down while you're supposed to be sitting and to appear to be sitting when you're actually lying down. it's really cool, i tell you! i can hardly contain my excitement that i started blabbering about it to my officemates. i even started thinking about ordering curtains for the sala and went on looking for a carpet to match. guano cannot seem to fathom what the rush for a new sala set was all about. he kept on telling me to just wait until the right sofa comes along. (say that to an eager beaver!)

two days passed, three...then almost a week. the upholsterer did not deliver on time but what the heck. something this special must really be worth the wait. i went home one evening with the upholstered sofa and my thai-inspired divan finally delivered to my house. the moment i've been waiting for! for the longest time i was just standing there aghast at the shabbily finished "sofas" which looked more like two pieces of junk to me. too flabbergasted to speak, all i could think of was: i wouldn't take these junk even if they were for free. what's worse is that they were not. i spent my midyear bonus for that! to make matters worse, the upholsterer wouldn't even repair the sofas anymore though they did not exactly follow the design we originally agreed upon. i wanted to scream and hurl a bomb at the upholstery shop whenever i passed by it but then, what good would it do me? i'll just be giving this rude upholsterer the power to dictate my emotions and rule my life.

now that every plan for an oriental-themed house has gone awry, i started to realize how blind i had been to the signs of an impending "sofa disaster" - the vehicle used to pick up my precious narra sofa was just a hired tricycle (guano violently reacted to this saying that no self-respecting upholsterer would ever do that as it speaks ill of his/her establishment and that it can scratch/damage the antique narra sofa); the many times the repair was postponed; the number of follow-up calls the upholsterer didn't take because she was in a hospital (though she was apparently dismissed after being told i'd be ordering throwpillow cases); the feeling of uncertainty over the deal, etc. these subtle and not so subtle tell-tale signs came clearly only when truth started to look very differently from the ideal. suddenly, my hubby's warning somehow made sense. why was i in a hurry after all?

lessons learned: 1. good things really come to those who wait. 2. when unsure, don't do it. 3. know exactly what you want. 4. people will take advantage of you if you let them to. 4. listen..and listen hard to people who genuinely care for you - they see things more clearly than you do. 5. the perfect sofa set will come, just like any other thing in your life - at the appointed time. haste makes waste. 6. forgive. 7. move on, life is much bigger than a sofa set.

Monday, March 06, 2006

cigarette smoke

i am a circle of smoke
that envelopes your face
and clings to your clothes

you're not a smoker, i see
and you have gone mad
when you smelled your shirt
reeking of dead old man

who would have wanted
to be a by-product of bad habit?

not even i. i tell you
but for the meantime, i just have to be

and while you are standing there whining
you just have to suffer my embrace
which is death to your rough skin
and nit-picking nose

would it have been different
if i were a smoke of another kind?

probably. because if i were an incense
you would have bowed your head
in reverence. and i'll never get to know
where the real stench comes from.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

the love bug

okay, so it's valentine's day. while people were scurrying to go home, i'm taking my own sweet time making a blog entry in the office. a lot of times i've been asked (personally, in text and email): 'wala ka bang date? valentine ngayon, umuwi ka na'. after just coming back from a long meeting with donors and having to rush an article that's been long due, how am i supposed to respond to that? 'oh, yeah, it's valentine's day! geesh, how can i forget? i guess i better tell the editor to extend the deadline, drop everything off, and feel weak in the knees at the prospect of a romantic evening!' being the tactful person that i am (aagh!), of course i didn't say that. instead, i opted for the most logical thing to do when you're already distracted: make a blog entry.

no, i'm not griping because i'm dateless. i have in fact a "date" with my love, our little tot and his yaya tonight. i'm just trying to finish some paperwork while waiting for my 'knight' to come out of the office so we can go home together, as is our usual habit. valentine dating seems to evolve in meaning as one goes through 'life stages', well at least it does for me. what's bothering me is the feeling that one gets 'coerced' into behaving a certain way just because it's cupid's day. can't we celebrate it the way that's natural for us? like by just holding hands or having a special dinner at home or by simply doing your work for the meantime that you're not home yet? can't we celebrate it some other day and some other way?

as early as yesterday, i've been spotting couples dating in a capitalist-approved fashion (i.e. complete with the v-day paraphernalia). there was a lady in student uniform carrying heart-shaped balloons though she seemed to be at loggerheads with her man (also in student uniform), and then there was a messenger carrying a bouquet of lovely red roses and stuffed toys to a lucky lady in a posh subdivision. i thought the v-fever was a hit only with students these days until i stepped in the the lobby of rcbc plaza and found it abuzz with luckier florists busily arranging huge roses of every color imaginable for men and women patiently waiting in queue. even the morning traffic in pasig has clearly spelled V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E all over the busy streets and alleys! (you go figure why pasig is mentioned in a valentine's day article). everyone seems to have been bitten by the love bug!

and i was too. happily shall i say. i've been racking my brains for the perfect valentine dinner recipe since yesterday but unfortunately (or fortunately for my family), i had a meeting in makati today so they'll be spared of my experimental cooking on this wondrous occasion. that's extra income for our choice resto too which is extra money for the economy so scrapping my original idea wasn't really that bad after all. what i'm really trying to say is, to each his own. no matter how you choose to spend it: in restaurants, malls, theaters and even in motels teeming with lovebirds, the important thing is that you're not forced into doing it. rather, you do it because it makes you giddy as a teener again and lets you relive the 'old times' with your man/lady love when the only thing that matters in the world is your love for each other (when the cost of diapers, milk and yaya are not part of the picture yet). or you do it because it makes a loved one (can be a mom, a sibling, a child or a househelp) feel extra special, which in a way makes you feel extra good about yourself too. you do it out of sheer excitement and genuine love, not out of the need to comply with the society's 'norm' to be with a man (or any man for that matter) just because it is valentine's day. where is the 'love' in that? what is romantic in an evening of expensive wine and empty chatter?

it's getting late and i still have no idea where we're going out for dinner. it may be somewhere fancy or somewhere unexpected or somewhere ordinary, i really don't know. what i do know is that i'll be having the most love-filled evening tonight, with or without the roses, the balloons or chocolates. and i'll have several kisses from my hubby and kid planted all over my cheeks and forehead - something that no commercial valentine product can ever come close to.

have a wonderful valentine with your loved one/s!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Change. A lot of people want it, yet only a few have the stamina to really go for it - and make it work to their advantage.

We want to come to work on time but the cold morning mist and the oh-so-cushy bed got the better of us so we end up waking in a panicky mode - blaming the traffic or the driver or the passengers who have to get off at certain stops, adding to the delay. Exasperated with our habitual tardiness, we vow to kick off the habit only to see ourselves waking up late again the next day. The cycle seems incessant.

Or we may vow to change our last-minute syndrome and plan to get our hands on a term paper to meet its deadline, but we end up feeling paralyzed everytime we decide to write the first few pages. Days, weeks, months and even years are wasted procrastinating until we grow tired of planning, of dreaming. We even grow tired of simply thinking because we have never really reaped a sense of accomplishment in anything at all – why wouldn't we when we just spent the whole planting season ruminating for hours on end instead of actually sowing seeds?

Change is not change if it only resides in the mind, it has to sink deep into the heart and embrace the spirit. It has to spark enough zeal to get you on your toes and sustain you on the toughest or seemingly most unpleasant hours. It should burn you enough to wake you up from your sound slumber and send you to a cold morning shower just to get to work on time; it should be able to ignite your passion and move you into writing the first words of your master's thesis, free you from the fear of failing and push you into conquering your lazy, complacent self.

Change should sustain the spirit that dares, the spirit that struggles, the spirit that sacrifices. It’s almost impossible to change a dirty bed into a spotless, sweet-smelling one if we refuse to get rid of the soiled linens. Much like in life, nothing is achieved unless we stop clinging on to our ‘dirty linens’. Desire or even obsession for change leads you nowhere unless you learn to crush the nasty things that have turned into bad habits; unless you take the baby steps that eventually gather momentum enough to spur you into greater action. Action that stirs your soul and sustains your struggle. Struggle that eventually rewards change itself.

What’s keeping you from changing your dirty linens?