Street but Sweet


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Are we there yet?

Earlier, a friend and I were talking about how bad we both were at geography. It all started with me trying to explain how to get to the Marikina Sports Complex, and mistaking Marcos Highway for Bonifacio Avenue (oopsie). This friend (itago na lang natin sa pangalang Miguel. Haha) said that, up until recently, he thought that Quiapo and Binondo were the same thing. (Miguel, don't worry--I'm the girl who thought Brunei was in the Middle East, remember? Magka-bukuhan na.)

On more than one occasion, I've literally found myself in unfamiliar territory, the type that would make me remark, "Kung iwan niyo ako dito, hindi talaga ako makakauwi." There's that fear of the unknown, especially if it isn't exactly the safest neighborhood, but there's also that element of excitement--of being somewhere new, and the possibility of gaining the littlest bit of independence by getting lost and being forced to find my way around. I think I've only really gotten majorly lost once or twice. The most vivid memory was of me in a car, wandering around Manila with some equally clueless blockmates for four bloody hours, trying to figure out how to get back to QC from Divi.

Lately, I've kind of been feeling that my life is a lot like that endless car ride from Divi to QC. There's this sense of restlessness and frustration hanging over me. Today, especially, I just feel exhausted, and am just crawling towards that glorious three-day weekend.

Maybe one reason is because I keep thinking about the things that I want, and the reasons I can't have them. The past couple of weeks, for one, I've been thinking a lot about traveling, and missing out on traveling, and the sorry state of my finances (at least to fund all the traveling that I want to do). I have no idea how I'm going to get myself to Boston for my bro's grad, go abroad with H, as well as pay for a pastry arts course, buy a camera, save enough for the future (whatever "enough" means), and still have enough left over to...well, survive (you know, food and stuff).

Recently--thanks to one of my rackets--I read about the Fish Tank Theory. Something like tropical fish can only grow as big as their tanks. So if you put them in a bigger tank, they will grow to accommodate the tank. The author explains, "Designing a tank means creating a picture for your business or life that you can grow into," but cautions that there is a difference between thinking big and acting foolishly. It's a calculated risk. Come up with an outrageously huge tank and you might just end up drowning.

So yeah, I'm convincing myself that it might just be possible to get everything I want next year. I'd like to believe that I'm just thinking big. The thing is, I know I'm capable of thinking so much bigger.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Prom night

The invite came with a box of chocolates by Chef Baba Ibazeta-Benedicto. How could I possibly say no to this?

It's been a while since I had an excuse to get all gussied up for something other than a wedding, so I was game to attend this Romance Revival Ball at Makati Shang last night. Was encouraged to bring a date, so of course I dragged H along. He was game, giving his trademark, "Ma-iba lang." (Famous last words...spoken while we were in Mag:Net some weeks ago for "dance night," which didn't offer much dancing for us but served up a, er, rather interesting performance.) When I got there, I found out that the couples were given little tables right along the center aisle, one couple per table! So when Mr. Pure Energy came out and did his thing, he actually went up to our table, shook our hands, and sang to us. (The eye contact was something H could've done without, I think. Haha.)

Food was awesome, will blog about that soon. Prizes for the night were dinners for two at these fancy places, as well as a few romantic getaways. Grand prize was a trip for two to Amanpulo! Sigh. But as these events go, it looks like the winner was rigged. Was kinda hoping for a dinner at least, so that we wouldn't have to spend on our upcoming anniv dinner. Haha. 'Tis the season to be broke!
Will upload more "prom pics" in my Multiply soon. Hehe.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I woke up yesterday suddenly engulfed in a wave of nostalgia. It started off with the "Christmas feeling"--it's the sort you get when you know something really good is coming, mixed with that feeling that's stirred up when you get a delicious whiff of something baking. It was weird because the heat made it seem more like the middle of summer than the holidays (it was nearly 1:00 pm after all. Forgive me, fell asleep at sunrise). But there I was in my darkened room, thinking about cooler days in years past and getting that fuzzy feeling of anticipation and unexplainable joy.

It was the exact same feeling I got one morning in early March, probably more than 10 years ago. I was standing near the Poveda gym, in the little path that led to the Segovia building. I felt the warmth of the sun on my face, but there was a very pleasant breeze that reminded me of happy family trips to Baguio. Everyone noticed the weather; twas unusual as we were on the cusp of summer. Someone said that it was like California weather, and since I hadn't been to California at that time, I took her word for it.

Remembering that scene took me back to high school, and just as suddenly as the Christmas feeling came, it switched to this terrible ache. I longed to go back. To the days when the biggest problems were geometry and finishing IW, when I spent every lunch time with some of the most important girls in my life, when I felt like I belonged and that I had this place that made me feel safe. My world was comfortably, wonderfully small.

At some point, I stopped believing that high school made up the best days of my life. But yesterday, in bed past noon, I remembered the days when it did.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Loser at work

Monday, November 20, 2006

While visiting a good friend at the hospital, I realized--we're getting old! The reason we were at the hospital was that our friend had just given birth (a super cute baby boy with loads of hair and gigil-worthy chubby cheeks); while we were there, the girls and I talked about the baptism and an upcoming wedding, and debated about the hospital's walls (was the paint sprayed on or rolled on? "It's wallpaper!" insisted one).

I couldn't believe we were talking about babies, weddings, and wall finishes! It's actually been 10 years since we were talking about prom dresses and stressing over whom to take.

In perhaps what was a futile attempt to defy the aging process, I agreed to go with True Friend to an event at Temple Saturday night. It was a DJ competition among Spin City students--all colege-age! When I got there, I felt even older. And Camyl and I (both former cheerdancers) lamented the fact that no one was really dancing--"Kung college lang tayo, inumpisahan na natin eh!" But since we were pretty much the old farts in that place, we knew our place and quietly sipped our drinks in one corner, opting instead to critique the music mix.

Two hours later, I found myself at the VIP room in Embassy.


Those who know me best would've hit the brakes after reading that. Yes, I finally caved and went because 1) it was free, and 2) I just wanted to see what it was about, once and for all. I stayed for a grand total of 15 minutes. I think I would've preferred it if 1) H were there, so at least we could dance, and 2) I weren't in the VIP room. I'd rather hobnob with dem regular folk--my peeps. Haha.

The rest of the weekend was more "me"--I didn't have cooking class, so I got a bit of Christmas shopping done. (Note: It's great going to Greenhills at lunch time because everyone else is eating and you're free to roam the tiangge without much hassle--and Unimart doesn't have any lines! I'm actually quite pleased with how my Christmas shopping has been going; I've checked an impressive number off my list, if I do say so myself.) I also baked cookies after sooo long and discovered that, while the Chocolate Lover chocolate chips are OK, nothing beats the Nestle Toll House ones. Alas, I don't know where to find them anymore. Then there was dinner with the fam and doting over my nephew. And H driving for me and my parents!

I guess these things are more my speed now. And my scene is more Coffee Bean than VIP room. I do enjoy the occasional night out in the club, but at this stage, conversation wins. So, yeah, I'm not quite college-age anymore. But hey, that ain't such a bad thing.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Forgive my just-posted shallow entry. I'm just kind of kicking myself for not buying that top. Sigh.

On my way home, I was thinking about my latest night ritual. It changes every few weeks, and I'm really hoping to change this one soon: When I get home, normally late in the evening, I raid the fridge (which is almost always well-stocked, thanks to mumsy, bless her) and snack on whatever it is that could satisfy my craving for the night. I watch a bit of TV, unwilling to read any of the books I started (not exactly page-turners). By 11 or 12, I'm feeling sleepy, too sleepy to remove the covers from my bed, so I take a power nap...that lasts til about one or two in the morning! Then I get up and remove the covers and big pillows. Sometimes I take a quick shower. Then I go back to bed and sleep til morning.

So aside from realizing that the quality of sleep is compromised, I've also figured out one reason I'm not as lean as I used to be. It's all the snacking. Back in the day, I'd get home incredibly tired from hours of dancing that all I could do is take a shower and crawl into bed. Or I'd get home a bit earlier, do some homework, and then crawl into bed. I don't eat when I do homework. It's such a hassle. So I really should stop wondering why I'm having a hard time getting my body back to what it used to be. If only I could exercise the same discipline over food that I've lately been exercising over my budget (with disastrous--well, OK, annoying results). Although I could feel myself caving... I've heard that you have to do something 21 times before it becomes a habit. So I dunno if that means I have to go 21 days on this budget, or 21 pay periods before I get used to it. I'm really hoping it's the former.

Ah, right on schedule. I'm starting to feel sleepy. I've been telling myself to fight it the past couple of nights. But maybe I've gone 21 days like this. And you know how old habits die hard.

The one that got away

So. Regret.

You caught my eye, hiding amidst a rack of tops that had seen better days. There was something special about you. I tried you on. You could have been something I could wear on my "fat days" without making me feel frumpy--you weren't form-fitting but you weren't dowdy; your long and somewhat puffy sleeves covered my arms, but you revealed a hint of one of my better features (my back). But the longer I looked at us in the mirror, the more I had second thoughts. Ultimately I decided you were too fashion (pronounced "fasyon") for me. That and the fact that I had a few bucks in my wallet to last me til payday compelled me to put you back in the rack. You were quite pricey for ukay. I had worked out a budget and I swore that I would stick with it.

But for days I couldn't get you out of my mind. I imagined what I could wear you with--my black slacks, my white mini-skirt, my dark blue jeans. I had to go back. With each busy day that passed, my anxiety grew. When I finally had time to go and get you, you were gone.

I thought you would lovingly take me back. What was I thinking? Hordes of people visit this, my secret ukay shopping place. I've even seen foreigners combing through the tapered 80s jeans and frayed and faded t-shirts. How could I have hoped or even thought that no one would notice you?

I went home, dejected, and told mumsy my story. Her response: "Pinag-isipan mo pa ang P75?!"

Damn budget. "At least you're disciplined," offered H.

"Disciplined nga, miserable naman!"

I'm never going to find another one like you.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

All too real

I've been anticipating this movie called Stranger than Fiction. It stars Will Ferrel as a dude who one day starts hearing a voice narrating in his head. Eventually, he ends up going to a literature professor (Dustin Hoffman) for help. The professor figures out that the narrator is in fact an author (Emma Thompson), and Will is apparently a hero in Emma's stories or something. The thing is, this particular author is known for killing off her heroes. So Will has to find her before he's written off.

Caught a trailer on TV and it made me wonder what I'd hear if there were suddenly a voice narrating my life.

She's grown tired of people complaining over the littlest things. "Just get over it and do something about it," she found herself muttering under her breath. The irony doesn't escape her--she's now complaining about people who complain.

Tiny things have just been getting on her nerves lately, even though she doesn't show it. A voice. A remark. A touch. All these cause her skin to prickle out of unfounded annoyance. She has a vague idea what's causing it, this feeling of unrest; she also knows it isn't reasonable. Emotions are funny that way. She says she isn't worried, but deep down there are questions. She put her faith in passion and, yes, fate--and now that her dream may come to fruition, she's unsettled. Is it really what she wants? Or did she just delude herself into thinking that? If it isn't meant for her, then what's left for her to chase after?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Years ago, my family's All Saints' Day ritual consisted of going to the cemetery at around midnight, where a tent was pitched earlier in the day. We'd play cards, sometimes my brothers would have their guitar and their song hits, and we'd go see our cousins who were visiting their own relatives in other parts of the cemetery. Then we'd lie in sleeping bags laid out on the damp grass. In the morning, we'd queue at the portable toilets (the worst part of the whole stay), pray the rosary, trek to the Last Supper monument, then chow down on sweet spaghetti and fried chicken. If I was lucky, a Magnolia man would pass by and I'd buy some pinipig crunch. Right before going home, Carlos and I would collect the melted candles and form colorful wax balls. I remember having muddied sneakers, the heady smell of scented candles, and the heat of the midday sun.

When the crowds and traffic became unbearable, we moved our visits to a few days before All Saints' Day, and made them short and sweet--over the years, we had more graves to visit. We'd make the rounds of Loyola in Marikina, Libingan ng mga Bayani, and the crypt at Christ the King; afterwards, we'd have lunch or merienda or dinner out, depending on the time we went.

This year, we decided to head to the cemetery Monday night. Had dinner with both my parents first (my dad actually came along this time--and he wasn't his usual surly self), then grabbed some frozen yogurt before heading to Loyola. At the cemetery, my mom and I said a quick prayer. My dad just stood in front of my brother's grave, quietly looking on. I saw my mom gently touch each of the graves--my brother's, my lolo's, my lola's--before we left.

It always pains me to see my mom sad, but I've seen it a few times before. It had been a while since I went there with my dad, and seeing him in front of Tonton's grave made me think if he was ever able to grieve properly. If he was over it. But as H says, it's probably something you never get over.

On our way home, my dad made a spur-of-the-moment decision to swing by Iggy's place. When we got there, Dad just lit up upon seeing his grandson, Diego. It's not something you see often.

H is right. I guess you never forget.