Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pending Books

Last Friday after office, I finally can't get over the temptation and visited the newly opened store "Books For Less" at Pioneer Centre. My officemate and I often walked through PC but it was just 2 days ago when I noticed the bookstore. I was excited when I saw the shelves of books but I had to stop myself from going to the store, first because I was with someone, and second because I know it would take me quite a time to browse through as that has always been the case when I'm inside a bookstore. Last Friday, I just found myself walking towards it, instead of the exit door of the PC, saying to myself over and over like a mantra, "For 15 minutes only."

I went over to the YA section and immediately found a John Newbery Medal Book called Missing May (1993 winner of the Newbery Award). It was just for Php50. Not bad I thought, although the last Newbery books I purchased at Booksale was for Php10 and Php15 only. When I'm done reading the book, it's plus 1 to my sister's bookshelf which mostly store classics and Newbery books (oh, and Mary Higgins Clark).



Just as promised, I was out of the store in 15 minutes, with another good book piled pending to be read. After "Please Look After Mother," I still have 3 books to devour. :)

 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Demi's First Day

So this is it! I'm finally letting my baby learn on her own. I took a leave from the office to send her off to school. Well, practically all of us, Daddy, me and Daisy sent her off this morning. I'm so proud of my baby! She didn't show any signs of anxiety, just pure excitement. And when Teacher told them to say goodbye to us, I hesitantly obeyed hehe. Daisy was so sweet kissing her big sister before she left. It was her who almost cried when we left saying "iwan ate Demi." Hehe. It's such a joy to see them like that.

I am so excited myself. I can't believe I'm sending someone off to school. Am I really that old? It seemed like but a FEW years ago when I myself had been attending school. *sigh* it's so nostalgic. Anyway, when we left, I told my husband that I wanted to stay outside the gate and peek hehe. The last thing I saw was Teacher asking them to all stand up. I wanted to know what they're going to do. But my husband told me I'd just be a nuisance to Teacher and a sure distraction to Demi and the other kids. Oh alright. Anyway, here are some of our pics on the way to school.




On the way to school...
On the way back home, we passed by tita Rizza's office. She says she'll come with us when we pick Demi up later.
Daisy is interested with the dead frog on the street hehehe...
Taho for breakfast! :D
Daisy momentarily forgot her miseries about leaving ate Demi behind with a cup of taho :D
A funny thing happened. Just when we were about to pay, Gyun Woo remembered that he left his purse at home. We didn't want to look like we were playing drama with Manong Magtataho (for Php10 taho!!! goodness gracious). Luckily, we haven't gone far from ate Rizza's office. Now we owe her one haha.

And what do you know? It's 5 minutes before picking Demi up again. So I've got to end this post and see what's Demi been up to on her first day of classes! Yehey!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sassy Girl Turned 29

This is the first time I ever declared my age without hesitating to understate it haha. Not that it matters. I mean, it’s just a number. Deep inside, I am still very young at heart. Besides, birthdays are hardly that material to me. The celebration yesterday was actually accidental in nature but thank God I think we all had a blast yesterday. :)

The first thing that made me happy was the gift. Three days before my birthday, I have read a review about another great book from my friend, Diane. The minute I have read that the story was moving, I said I had to read this one. Because buying books myself always sends me off to a fight with my conscience (I am THAT frugal), I had to ask my husband to get it for me as a gift. It doesn’t matter if there is no near occasion. I could WAIT! But the lucky thing was, it’s 3 days before my birthday! He deliberately ignored me though when I sent him a chat message that I wanted the book as a gift. But it didn’t irritate me. I knew he just wanted surprise me (He’s so predictable!).  The book was, "Please Look After Mother" by Kyung-sook Shin.

The second thing that made me happy was the thought of destroying his surprise in return for ignoring me hehe. So last Friday, when I got home, I looked for signs that he had gotten out to get the book. First, I noticed that my husband had just taken a bath. That’s supposed to be unusual because normally, he takes a bath at night before going to bed, or only when he’s gone out to get rid of the germs hehe. (He’s so OC!) I told him that and asked him to which he replied his lame excuse that he went out to pay the rent. It’s such a lousy excuse considering that the landlord’s house was just a short walking distance from the house. He probably noticed that I wasn’t buying his excuse so he added that he rode the tricycle to make sure that he gets back immediately because the kids were about to wake up. Just to give a brief background, walking to the landlord’s house would take about 20 minutes back and forth. Riding would take at most 10. The kids sleep for at least 1 and a half hour hehe.

And I told him (word for word), “Your excuse is doubtful.” I was sure he went somewhere. I looked around for some clues that would give him away and found the screaming shape of a “book” inside a brown paper bag. I pointed at it and asked him, “What is this package?” That totally gave him away and destroyed all his effort to surprise me. I did get a hit in the head though, with the diaper he was holding because he was taking care of the kids at that moment, hehe. But I was overjoyed with my success. Darn, I know him too well! ;)

The third thing which made me happy was the celebration itself. On Sunday morning, we went over to mommy and daddy’s house. The kids and I dipped in the kiddie pool…


Tita Olie showing off her newborn kittens while we were at the pool =) cutie!

We had grilled fish and pork for lunch…
The fish was wrapped in banana leaves before grilling

The yummy tomato and onion stuffing and side dish
 
Grilled chops done!
And enjoyed chatting, computer gaming, and lazying around while the kids were asleep…

While the whole nation was grumbling about Pacman's loss, we were oblivious about it. Sorry... hehe.

In the afternoon, we strolled around the village…
Softdrinks in plastic... classic. ;)



Then we had pancit and ice cream for dinner…

And finally, took a family picture before going home.

Demi and Daisy computer gaming with tita Olie

It was a very simple celebration but spending time with loved ones has always been worthwhile.

And as if it wasn’t happy enough yet, the fourth thing that made me happy was, I finally got the gift officially :) My husband left the beautifully wrapped book, which I’m guessing was wrapped by the NBS store clerk, inside my bag where I found it just this morning. Surprise or no surprise, it was the best! I just can’t wait to read it.




The end…

No wait. Mom just called to ask if I was expecting a package. There were several expected packages mostly from bookmooch.com so I asked who it was from. And making the happiness overflowing, it was from Diane! Inside were the books she generously promised to me. Wow! Thanks so much Diane. I am treating these treats as a birthday gift. This is the fifth thing that made me very happy on my birthday. I know my birthday’s technically over but there was just so much happiness that a day can’t contain them. 

I just had to sigh in great contentment. Thank God for all the wonderful gifts I had just received, and had been receiving, for the past 29 years of my sassy life. :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Father’s Day Celebration

There is a common saying that the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. So what better way to make our daddies happy than food! If you’re lucky enough, you might be a good chef so you could prepare the food on your own. Otherwise, you may just buy from your favorite restaurants. I myself have been thinking of what to cook for my husband, my father, and my father-in-law.

Here’s a list of food choices I have that are quite affordable and/or easy to make:

Cakes
Let’s face it. Cakes are common but timeless. Who could resist a delectable cake? So it’s on top of the list. Easy, affordable, classic. Just make sure daddy’s not diabetic or he won’t be enjoying this food much.

Tuna Pasta
Pastas are the next most common food served on the table. Since dad doesn’t like spaghetti with meatballs, tuna pasta is the best alternative. The choice of pasta is yours, but I think the most recommendable are penne or fettuccine. Just mix the canned tuna with the pasta, season with salt and shredded cheese then add bits of broccoli. You may also add tomato as in the picture but I haven’t tried that one yet so I’m not sure how it would taste like.

Buko Pandan

I have tried this recipe once and discovered it was quite easy. Maybe now is the perfect time to make this again. Besides, this dessert is well loved in our household so this might just make everyone happy, not only daddy. :)

Grilled Tilapia
For a time, my husband has been craving for grilled tilapia. Once I tell him that I’m planning to cook this for father's day, it would definitely make his day. But this is difficult to make, especially cleaning the fish, but I guess you could ask the market vendor to do that for you. Stuffing the fish stomach with tomato and onion cubes may be a bit arduous also so I might let my husband do that too haha.

I think I’ll go for the cake if we visit over to my father-in-law’s house. Then maybe the fish or tuna pasta (whichever is available) at daddy’s house. I’ll be getting plenty of help in preparing the food there so I don’t have to worry hehe. Probably, I’ll make the buko pandan at home for my husband. Anyway, he’ll get to eat the food at Tatay’s and Daddy’s celebration so in a way, it’s a triple celebration for him. He deserves it. after all, he’s the best daddy/husband in the whole world (he has to be or esle...). ;)

You may also read this article here.


Friday, June 1, 2012

When Friends Become Enemies

I was racking my brain for happy thoughts this morning as part of my determination to focus on the beautiful side of life when I found myself thinking about my friends… At the top of my list was my Bes, then my sister, then my cousin. I stopped. My cousin and I haven’t talked at all for years and it’s not just the distance and busy issue. True, we’re both moms now and equally occupied with many things, but there’s a deeper reason for the cold silence.

My cousin and I have been friends since we were just 7 and 8 (she’s the younger one). Every summer vacation, she’d stay over at our house with her younger sister, and for a whole month or so we were stuck together in everything that we do. Our families used to say that when we’re together, all they ever hear from us were giggles. It’s like we’re sharing a private joke and all we have to do is look at each other and then we’d burst into uncontrollable laughter. I have to admit, they made my summer vacations enjoyable. When we were about 14 or 15, my cousin and I were at the peak of our friendship. We don’t see each other very often because we live a good distance apart. Besides, we’re both busy with school. Nevertheless, we knew each other like the back of our hands. Every day, we’d take turns writing letters which we sent through the Shoe Repair Shop, where our aunt (who was living with us then), and our uncle (who was living near my cousins), work. Oh, the mischiefs of little girls. We shared endless stories about our crushes, enthusiasm over Spice Girls, folly about Ghost Fighter, the new songs we like, new music videos. I know it still makes me happy thinking about those days.

When we got older though (I was 22), something happened that changed our relationship forever. Her sister was over at our house, and in dire desire to help them mend a serious sibling quarrel, I asked her to come over too, minus the bf (which was her sister’s request). I don’t remember anymore whether she did come over or not. But later on, some news came to me that she hated me for this message forever. Mixed thoughts filled my mind. First was, now I’m figuring this out. Before the news came out, I had a feeling that she dislike me but was clueless why. Second was, hey, that was not even my idea! But it didn’t matter. I just accepted the situation like it’s nothing. I didn’t realize that our places in each other’s hearts could be replaced by boys that soon. So soon.

Now I could accept the cold war and live peacefully with it, especially because I know I’m innocent but I have to admit, I was angry. Perhaps, my only fault was that I have no control on how people view and react on things. There was no point telling her either that what made her mad was her sister’s idea. I mean, they were okay already, which was our goal in the first place. So the friends who used to share laughter without cause became strangers.

I didn’t know the extent of her anger though. I thought that when I said sorry, it was just as she said. It’s okay, it’s nothing. But grudge is such an ugly powerful feeling. When I was at the pit during the darkest era of my life, she struck.

Words. Painful words that she must have made a point of reaching me through other people (in the form of gossip). She used all those to bury me in the depths I was already in. The most extreme slap in my face though, was when she invited everyone from our household, down to the youngest member, except me, on her wedding day. And you know what? She won. My own family chose her over me.

Even when I had retreated and lived with my aunt in a faraway province, gossips still kept reaching me. I wanted to fight, to get even, to get revenge. My father gave me the only help he could give because I was so faraway. Words.

Don’t push your enemy too hard against the wall or he might have no choice but to fight back. My reception was the other way around though. Wasn’t I the one down in the dumps and now I’m fighting back? Give others their freedom to their opinion. But the power to prove their opinion wrong or right is yours. Right. As I see it that way, he’s right. This is a free country. But her opinion was not the authority on things either. What she says is NOT a law. So I let go.

During those hardest parts of my life though, revenge helped me get up. Yes. Depression has a way of bringing out the evil in me. I was looking forward to getting up so I could take my turn in stepping upon her. I no longer saw the friend I once had in her. All I can see was betrayal, pain. An enemy.

But because I was nursing a life inside me, I didn’t want to be all submissive to evil. I remembered a verse that I used to take for granted before:

Matthew 5:43-45
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

I never realized the weight of this commandment until I was faced with my own enemy. In my opinion, my cousin was the worst enemy I ever had. To have your best friend become an enemy is one of the most painful thing a person could experience because the betrayal is just so much and unexpected. Only then did I realize the difficulty of following this commandment. Believe me, it’s such a tremendous struggle of the good trying to live as a Christian and the evil who wanted nothing but revenge.

Finally, I stumbled upon this “words of wisdom” one day:

“Good things happen to bad people to make them good. Bad things happen to good people to make them cautious, capable of long suffering, thus not only making them good but excellent. – EFS”

Thank God. Deep inside me, the part I’m trying to suppress because of all the depression, there was this persistent voice that commands me to be the good person. Realizing that the experience of such miserable things doesn’t mean that I was a super bad person being punished, I completely gave up the fight for revenge.

When your trusted friend become your enemy, it’s really difficult. If there is a word that’s 100x worse than difficult, then that’s how I describe it. Even after I was able to spring back to light, forgiving was a difficult thing, much more, loving your enemy.

I’m thankful to God that after 6 years, I’m entirely sure that I have forgiven. Moreover, I think I’m ready to learn about “loving your enemy”. I thought that forgiveness was the most I could give. But I realized, that after everything that happened, I still counted her as my friend. And while I was thinking back about those times when my cousin and I were best friends, I was smiling. Thank God for lending me those 6 years of life, for giving me all the time to heal, forgive, and finally… love.