Saturday, January 31, 2009
Recently, a friend of mine (Bjorn) posted a beautiful video entitled "Signs". I wish I could post it here but I have yet to figure it out. The lead characters are Jason (Nick Russell) and Stacey (Kestie Morsaai). In the entire 12-minute short film, they spoke not a word.
Jason is your typical "probinsiyano", shy, somewhat nerdy guy - a social outcast. He just didn't know how to relate. He was bored with his job, bored with his life.
Until one day, as he glanced out of his window, he saw her. This beautiful woman drinking bottled water and typing on her laptop. She saw him looking. He pretended to look the other way. Her boss arrived to talk to her. He took the opportunity to look again. She caught him looking at her. So she wrote a sign, "Take a Photo". He didn't get the joke so she wrote, "I'm kidding".
They exchanged names and "nice to meet u's". That was the beginning of the exchange of signs between two people who worked in buildings across each other. They had so much fun! And Jason posted all those signs on his refrigerator.
One day, Stacey was looking at Jason in a strange way. She wrote, "I have a secret...I was looking at u first." That gave Jason the courage to write "Do you want to meet?" But before he could show the sign, Stacey was called by her boss.
So, Jason practiced on how to show the sign. He couldn't wait for the following day.
The following day came. He showed the sign. But to his great dismay, there was a new guy who took Stacey's place!
Jason became dejected and very sad.
Then, suddenly, someone was shining a light on his face using a mirror. Turns out that Stacey was trying to get his attention from an upper floor.
She showed a sign "I got promoted". Jason wrote "We should celebrate". Stacey wrote back "Absolutely!". Finally, Jason showed the sign "Do you want to meet?". Stacey's answer "Thought you'd never ask."
Jason rushed down his office. Waited for the traffic light. The two walked towards each other. As Jason was starting to say Hi, Stacey said "Shh" and held up a sign that said "Hi" with a heart.
Aww, wasn't that cute and romantic? I wish you could see it. Go to my site in Facebook, it's there.
Here I go again. Vicarious love. So what? I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
In life, God gives us signs of His love. Everywhere. All He is asking is for us to say, "I love You, Lord". And He would have said, "Thought you'd never say that".
Friday, January 30, 2009
As a freelancer, there are days when I have no projects to do. And so I am left to seek my own entertainment.
Yesterday, I was feeling kinda bored. So what did I do?
...I spent quality time with my son by playing Scrabble with him (and he won)
...I entertained my friend Noemi who came to visit - I let her take a bath, fed her lunch and the gelatin I made, and taught her some Powerpoint
... I surfed the Net like crazy (going from one topic to another)
...I ate delicious Chinese food that my mom brought home
...I reviewed the booklet that I wrote in obedience to my psychiatrist about my bi-polar mood disorder
...I watched and rewatched a romantic video entitled, "Signs" that my friend Bjorn placed in my Facebook
...I visited different sites participating in the OWOH blog event and kept commenting so that I could get a chance to win the beautiful pieces
...I watched the Oprah Winfrey show
Oh well, that's how the day of a bored (and beautiful) freelancer goes. Envy me?
Thursday, January 29, 2009
One was fun to watch. It's called "Dancing Matt" wherein this guy named Matt Harding danced literally all over the world. It's amazing! Watch this and enjoy! Every time I watch it I feel like dancing (too bad I still have a painful back).
Recently, a friend of mine emailed another video entitled "Are You Going to Finish Strong?". It's about Nick Vujicic, the man with no arms and legs. Here is the video. Each time I watch it, I am moved to tears.
Two videos. Both amazing. But totally different effects.
I thank God for people like Matt who is able to bring joy all over the world with his dancing and his ability to come up with projects that unite people from different countries.
But I would say I admire Nick more because he has no limbs yet is able to inspire so many people all over the world. Visit his site at www.lifewithoutlimbs.org.
I don't know how much influence I can have but all I know is this: as long as there are Matts and Nicks in this world, I will always strive to make a difference in my own way (big or small) because I don't believe in reincarnation and I shall only live once.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
In the course of my search for a job, I came across a teeny-tiny ad for a marketing research agency. Turns out to be a one-room office in a dingy building in Quezon City.
Another company where I applied is a popular chain of gift stores selling really cute stuff!
On the same day, both firms accepted my application. Guess which company I joined?
Believe it or not, I joined the marketing research agency which was in operations for weeks only. I chose that over the giant of a company. You know why? Because my boss-to-be was soooh good-looking!
Major boo-boo! My designation was Marketing Assistant. I was supposed to market the "services" of a company with no previous experience, where my boss had little experience, and where the owners of the company knew nothing about marketing research. Talk about baptism by fire!
Even if that boss eventually became one of my boyfriends, working for that company was torture for me! One sniff test on air-fresheners. One short survey among dentists (the results of which were used in an ad for a toothbrush brand). That is all I recall in the ten months that I was there.
Then, my own boss-boyfriend told me that there was an opening in the largest Filipino-owned marketing research agencies at that time.
I applied. Got accepted. Finally learned the ropes of marketing research.
I just love marketing research! Because I enjoy math, writing and dealing with people. So it fits me to a T.
Today, many years after, I am a freelance marketing research consultant. If I had not made the mistake of joining a new, never-heard marketing research firm, if I had joined that huge chain of gift shops, I would have gone the path of Marketing and I would have been miserable.
Happy mistake! Life has a funny way of turning our worst boo-boos into our best decisions.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
1) My father very much alive
2) Our home in Matulungin Street, Quezon City where we lived for the longest time
3) My son when he was still little
4) A man holding my hands
When I asked my psychiatrist the meaning of dreams, he said there are two kinds of dreams:
1) What is happening to your life right now
2) What you long for or want to happen
How true! Often enough, I dream of what is going on in my life right now. Like when I have a project to finish, I dream of that project. When I was teaching, I dream of my class and lessons I'm supposed to teach.
But too many of my dreams are of the second type.
...I dream of my father because I miss him after all these years. He passed away in October 31, 2001 but in my dreams, he is very much alive. My former psychiatrist told me once that I did not grieve properly for my father's death. Now, I may be overdoing it. Oh Daddy, I cannot wait till I see you again in heaven.
...That large home in Matulungin Street. So many happy memories! So many cherished moments shared with loved ones! The fun-filled parties. The smiles, the laughter, and the tears. To this day, I pass by that house and look longingly. If I win in the lotto, I shall buy back that house. (Problem is, I don't buy lotto tickets.)
...My son is now 20 years old and graduating from college. But when he was little, he was so cute and we were really close. Now, he has his many friends, school, church...other interests. I still get to see him of course but I miss the closeness. What is it with children that they grow up too fast?
...Recently, I went out with a friend and he held my hand. He kept feeling and touching it. He said I have such soft hands. I would have been thrilled because he is real cute...except that he's "estranged" from his wife but they still see each other. Besides, he's about 10 years younger. Ha ha. No way! Here I go again...seeking for that special someone who will hold my hand.
In a recent episode of Preacher in Blue Jeans [January 23, 2009], Bo Sanchez talked about the power of words. We can prophesy our future by the use of words, not just words per se but written words.
So here are my prophesies:
1) Someday, I will meet my father again in heaven!
2) Someday, I will buy back that house in Matulungin OR build one just like it.
3) Someday, I will be close with my son again.
4) Someday, a special man will come into my life and I will grow old with him and...of course, he will constantly hold my hands.
There, sweet dreams are made of these. But reality is so much sweeter.
Monday, January 26, 2009
We first went to Shangrila Restaurant in Times Street corner West Avenue. The whole thing was the treat of "NL" who got guilty for not showing up in many of our get-togethers. (Thank God for guilty friends). He ordered a set meal for 10 people but there were only 5 of us so I ended up bringing home food to my mom and my other friend, "KN" gave the rest to streetchildren.
Speaking of food, here's the list (I'm not sure how they're called but this is how I would name them): corn and crab soup, yang chow rice, squid with beans, lumpiang shanghai, sweet & sour meat balls, breaded fried chicken, wet noodles, buchi and Coke Zero. Delicious!
Later, KN treated us to a coffee shop so she can get the free notebook on promo.
So, the food and coffee was great, but the company was even better. Let me see...
"KN" - is an experienced scriptwriter for television and the movies. She is also active in serving at the Correctional Institute for Women. KN is spearheading the gift-giving activity to be held at the CIW this January 30. (Donations, anyone?) That's KN for you - big talent, big heart. And by the way, she's going to introduce me to speed-dating at Facebook (Exciting!)
"RC" - is a private person. She is the _________ of ________, an award-winning _________, an accomplished _________, and a teacher of _________. She was the one who encouraged me to blog, and to translate all my Tagalog words into English for the benefit of English-speaking readers. So, without RC, you wouldn't be reading this blog. RC also encourages me to join the Palanca awards with the screenplay I am working on as entry. There you have it - RC, the tip-giver and encourager.
"RN" - is a writer-editor who also sings so well, he sings at weddings. He's very kind and nice - in other words, kinda nice. He was the culprit who brought red wine recently (see previous post entitled "Guilty of Alcoholo Abuse"). Even if RN lives a good distance away, he finds time to join our get-togethers. RN - maaasahan kahit saan (reliable anywhere).
And last but certainly not the least, "NL" - he is the only non-writer in the group. But he is accomplished in his own right (and left). He is the HR manager of a very large company yet is very humble. He has a great sense of humor. And as mentioned, when guilty, he can be very galante (generous). He's cute in his own right and opinion (he-he). The others kept teasing us to each other so I rode along and told NL - "I'm giving you only two years to court me. Otherwise, times up!" Why two years? Because by then, I will be 50 and he'll be 42! Ha ha, cradle snatcher!
Oh well, times like these should be treasured. There will be many more get-togethers but I doubt very much if NL will be willing to pay for a set meal for 10 persons again.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
"Blogging is for dead people!", said Mario (Not his real name). When I asked why, he said, "Because you guys don't have a life! You've got nothing to do but blog."
On behalf of all the bloggers in the world, I say, "I beg to disagree!"
Of course, we have a life. Otherwise, what would we put in our blog?
There are different kinds of bloggers. There are those who talk about events in their life - past, present and even their dreams for the future. These are the "journal-ists". A good number of my former students in UP belong to this type. Ah! To be young and be full of passion and angst and goals and frustrations...an interesting read. Of course, those who are much older have much to share, too, about their life.
There are bloggers who use their blog to display their creative talent like most of those joining the OWOH (One World One Heart) blog event. You should visit their sites! Beautiful works of art indeed!
And then there are the special interest bloggers like the travel bloggers, the food bloggers, etc. You see a lot of pictures in their posts.
There are bloggers who specialize on humor, those who specialize on inspiration, or both just like (ehem) yours truly.
And of course, there are the professional bloggers who make oodles and oodles of money from their blog. These are usually the experts in their field who get thousands of visitors on a daily basis.
Being a new blogger myself, I like visiting other blogsites and reading other people's blogs. I am having so much fun, it is my new hobby! And I am gaining new friends all over the world, too.
Hopefully, when I have enough readers (in other words, "fans"), I will come up with other products like an e-zine, or e-book, or a book, or...The possibilities are endless!
So, blogging for dead people? Not on your life!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
But in my case, when I give my life testimony, I often refer to myself as "may toyo, may topak, may tililing" (crazy, demented, insane). That's not exactly true -- otherwise, I won't be able to write these words.
I have what my psychiatrist calls CRBPMD. That stands for "chronic recurrent bi-polar mood disorder". It used to be called manic-depression but somehow "bi-polar" sounds so much more politically correct.
My doctor tells me to research about my condition and to write about it. Hence, this blog. And I'm writing a screenplay (movie) entitled "Ang Mundo Ni Mundo". It is about a beautiful, intelligent, kind-hearted woman (sounds familiar?) who is bi-polar but ends up getting married to a handsome man (as writer, I'm entitled to my own happy endings).
For the unenlightened, my condition is a psychiatric disorder characterized by mood swings - hence the term "mood disorder". Each state, mania and depression, has its own signs and symptoms.
For people like us, it is very important to know and be aware what state we are in. Right now, let me see, where am I? I would say I'm in the hypomaniac state (mild mania) alternating with mild depression. How do I know? Below are two lists - the symptoms of mania and the signs of depression - and I will tell you which ones I have been experiencing recently.
One is manic if he or she exhibits the following symptoms:
- Euphoria (I'm not there yet)
- Extreme optimism (Optimism, yes but not extreme)
- Inflated self-esteem (I guess I'll always be mayabang [proud] to some degree but can you blame me?)
- Poor judgment (Hmm, probably but I can't be sure)
- Rapid speech (Not really but loud speech is also a sign and one that signals to my family members that I'm getting manic again)
- Racing thoughts (Not at this point)
- Aggressive behavior (Nope)
- Agitation (No)
- Increased physical activity (With my painful back, how can I? But increased mental activity, yes)
- Risky behavior (No)
- Spending sprees (Not possible)
- Increased drive to perform or achieve goals (Most definitely yes!)
- Increased sexual drive (Uh, let's not go there. My former students are reading this)
- Decreased need for sleep (Yup, guilty as charged!)
- Tendency to be easily distracted (Um, what did you just say?)
- Inability to concentrate (Talking to me?...Seriously, true)
- Drug abuse (No way! Never will be a problem for me)
- Sadness (Occasionally, yes)
- Hopelessness (Not really)
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior (No, never)
- Anxiety (Yeah)
- Guilt (Oh yes, I have plenty to be guilty about!)
- Sleep problems (Yes, yes, yes)
- Appetite problems (More yes's)
- Fatigue (A little)
- Loss of interest in daily activities (Not to a great extent)
- Problems concentrating (Talking to me again?)
- Irritability (No)
- Chronic pain without a known cause (Not sure)
Now you see, I ain't crazy after all...just a little "moody".
Friday, January 23, 2009
But first, for the benefit of those (foreigners especially) who have not seen the ad,this one, it takes on the point of view of a man who remembers the first time he met "her" every time he passes by a McDonald's outlet. He was with his mom and his mom bumped into an old friend. The old friend was with her daughter who looks like Paraluman. (See picture below.) [Note: Paraluman was a famous actress in the Philippines many years ago.]
So this boy with glasses saw this cute little girl waving at him, swinging her legs under the table, talking incessantly and all of a sudden she did it - she dipped french fries on her chocolate sundae...just like he would do! Then, she gets his hand and pulls him towards the play area...The scene changes and they are grown-ups with the woman pulling the man's hands. We see the change of expression on the man's face as he sees that the woman is now married with one kid.
As they eat, the bespectacled man dips his french fries into his chocolate sundae. The woman smiles and the man smiles back. The last line, "At kahit na hindi rin naging kami sa huli, siya pa rin ang first love ko." (And even if we didn't end up together, she remains my first love.)
Aww, isn't that romantic? The incurable romantic in me simply melted when I saw and re-saw and re-saw that McDo commercial.
Now, let's do something different. What if we try to see things from the girl's point of view? What would have been her thoughts? Here goes...
(Upon seeing boy for the first time) Hey, he's real cute! Let me wave at him to catch his attention.
Hmm, why is he looking at me like that? Does not seem interested enough.
Let me see if I can get his attention this way (swings her legs under the table). He's looking but still no expression.
Here's our food. O wow, we ordered the same things! Why am I chatting uncontrollably? I get this way when I'm conscious of a boy. Oh well...french fries with chocolate sundae! Yummy!
Again, why that look on his face? Change of venue...I will bring him to the play area so I can have him for myself...
(Years later and behind the scenes) Oh hi! Remember me? We met right here in this place do you recall?...
Wait, come with me...I'll show you something or shall I say someone...Here, meet my hubby and our daughter.
Oops, he looks disappointed. Could it be? Nah, it couldn't be! After all these years...
Yehey, my favorite food of all time, McDonald's! Hey, I can't believe it! He is dipping french fries in his chocolate sundae. Just like the first time...He does love me after all these years! Why didn't he tell me, I could have said "Yes!" to him. I must be his one true love after all.
Hmm, shall I file for annulment?
Ha ha. Hope you enjoyed my "take" on the McDonald's "First Love" commercial.
My first love? That was many, many years ago, I don't recall the feeling anymore. And in fact, I have many "first loves", I don't know where to start counting.
One thing for sure, I will never dip my french fries in chocolate sundae just to get back my first love, whoever he is... I'm diabetic and no longer have the privilege of eating ice cream, that's why.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I've decided to join the OWOH (One World One Heart) blog event for 2009. For those who do not know, this is an exciting way to win prizes, have new friends, learn new blogsites.
Most of the contestants have art works and beautiful pieces as give-aways. My humble prize is my latest book, "Things I Learned From My Father" (note: I, the author, will personally autograph it for you) PLUS a "mystery gift". Anyone who leaves a comment in this particular post is eligible to win these prizes. Please don't forget your contact details or email address so that should you win, I would know how to give you the good news! Deadline for all comments is February 12, 2009, 12:00 noon Philippines time.
If you have your own blog and would like to participate in this event, log on to oneworldoneheart.typepad.com or just click on the badge above.
As a writer, I try to improve my writing as much as I can. And so, I log on to writing websites and my favorite is www.writersdigest.com. There, I came upon an article entitled “Using Paralellism in Your Writing” by Bonnie Trenga.
What is parallelism? It is when elements of a sentence “have the same weight and are often the same part of speech. Noun, noun, noun. Check. Adjective, adjective, adjective. Yep. Verb, verb, verb. Parallelism is all about equality; parallelism creates a nice rhythm in your sentence.”
The author gave tips and instructions on how to ensure parallelism in one’s writing.
For practice, guess what? I chose President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address!
You know how many parallelisms I counted in his speech? A whopping 68! [I challenge you to do your own counting.]
Here are but some of them (in italics):
My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.
Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shattered.
Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things …
But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. [There is a missing word here. What is it?]
Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage. [Do you see the three sets of parallelisms here?]
Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint. [Is this another case of an off-tangent parallelism or that of two parallelisms in a single sentence?]
It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old.
Go ahead, get anybody’s speech and count the number of parallelisms. Like me, you might find the exercise interesting, exciting, and fun!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Attention: Nimia Gamo Yumol
Dearest Ma'm Nimia,
I dropped by to a bookstore this afternoon and there my attention was caught by your book entitled, "Something to Thank About."
At first I was in doubt to buy it for I only have P150 in my pocket but I felt it was so interesting so I bought one.
The fact is I've just finished reading the whole book and you know I haven't refrain from crying. I cried in the sense that I've been facing a lot of trials and pains. I was even asking if there's still GOD. Am so helpless and don't know what to do until I read your book.
It really enlightened me. It strengthened my faith and changed by outlook in life and it happened just now. Kasi (because) if you only know ma'm I almost kill myself to escape from my problems.
I am writing just to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am so much grateful to God that He uses someone to save me from a hopeless world. Thank you very, very much for an encouraging book you have written. I won't forget you for the rest of my life, ma'm Nimia.
Because of you, nagkaroon uli ako ng pag-asang mabuhay at harapin ang mga problema ko. (Because of you, I was again given hope to live and face my problems.) Again, thanks a lot, more power and may GOD bless you always!!!
"Tania" (not her real name)
It was one of the most heartwarming, touching, world-changing letters I have ever received! When I wrote my first book, how was I to know that it had the power to prevent a woman from taking her life?
Each of us has that power to influence others - in small ways, in big ways. Who knows? You who are reading this blog could be the next "life-saver"!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
We did have a lot of fun. Beside me was a pretty, sexy girl about to celebrate her debut. Across me was a woman whose business is balloons and other party stuff. To my right was an OB-Gynecologist from whom I got free medical advice.
They put up a tarpauline greeting the celebrant plus her grandson who was also celebrating his 15th birthday. With big pictures of them, it looked more like an election campaign material!
I was tasked to say the opening prayer where I said "Thank You for the 70 wonderful years that You gave Mommy. May she have 70 more." Everyone laughed. But the celebrant doesn't really like that long a life.
After the eating, there was an honoring of the birthday celebrant. Many wished her a happy, peaceful, not necessarily long life and each gave her flowers just like in a debut. Mommy Rina was moved to tears. (Maybe she remembered her own debut and how long ago that was!)
My own mom is 76. I'm almost 48. Quite a long way till I reach 70. But would I want to live till 140? Frankly, no. And it's not likely either. What with my many illnesses...
But whatever the age, I think what matters most is that we try to live life to the fullest. It doesn't always mean being in full gear all the time. Sometimes, taking time to rest and "not doing anything productive" is still part of living a full life.
To all those celebrating their 70th birthday (or thereabouts), happy birthday! May God grant you as long a life as you need to be happy and make many other people happy.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Some years ago, I wrote the lyrics of a funny song and asked a certain Manny Durmiendo to compose the melody.
Here are the lyrics:
Wala akong pera - (I don't have any money)Mahirap lang ako, (I'm only poor)
Ooooo, Mahirap lang ako! (Oh, I'm only poor!)
I. Mahirap ang ma-holdup (It's hard to be the victim of holduppers)
Kung wala kang ibibigay. (If there's nothing to give)
Mahirap ma-carnapan (It's hard to be the victim of carnappers)
Kung sa jeep sumasakay. (If you only ride the jeep)
Mahirap ang ma-kidnap (It's hard to be the victim of kidnappers)
Kung abonado pa sila. (If they will end up spending money instead)
Paano ka nanakawan (How can anything be stolen from you)
Kung ika’y walang-wala? (If you have absolutely nothing?)
II. Mahirap kang lumobo (It's hard for you to grow stout)
Kung wala namang makain. (If you have nothing to eat)
Mahirap ma-impatso (It's hard to get indigestion)
Sa isang platitong kanin. (On one saucer of rice)
Mahirap magkabisyo (It's hard to have a vice)
Kung walang panigarilyo. (When you don't have cigarette money)
Mahirap kang malasing (It's hard to get drunk)
Sa isang lunok ng gin. (On one swallow of gin)
Refrain: Mahirap maging mahirap (It's hard to be poor)
Masarap ding maging dukha (It's also great to be a pauper)
Matuto kang makuntento (Learn to be contented)
Maykaya man o wala. (Whether wealthy or not)
III. Mahirap kang habulin (It's hard to be pursued)
Ng babaeng golddigger. (By female golddiggers)
Mahirap kaibiganin (It's hard to be befriended)
Ng mga social climber. (By social climbers)
Mahirap kang ma-wan-tu-tri (It's hard to be deceived)
Ng mahusay na swindler. (By a good swindler)
Walang mawawala sa ‘yo (You have nothing to lose)
Kung hindi ka millionaire. (If you are not a millionaire)
IV. Mahirap kang kunin (It's hard to get you)
Na ninong sa kasal (As a godparent in a wedding)
Mahirap kang takbuhan (It's hard to be sought)
Ng mga umuutang. (By those who want to borrow money)
Mahirap kang kainggitan (It's hard to be envied)
Kung poor ka lang naman. (If you are just poor)
Mahirap ding yumabang ka (It's also hard to become haughty)
Kung ikaw ay isang dukha. (If you are a pauper)
Finale: Bilangin ang biyaya (Count your blessings)
Pasalamatan ang Diyos (Thank the Lord)
‘Pagkat hindi nabibili (Because what cannot be bought)
Ang pag-ibig na lubos! (Is sincere, genuine love!)----------
So what started out as a funny song, ended on a serious note. I don't mean to offend anyone by this song - rich or poor. Although this is about the so-called blessings of being poor, I don't mean to imply in any way that being in a state of poverty is always good. We must try our very best to get out of being poor and dependent on others, or we should try to be richer than we are so that we can bless and help more people.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Sometime 2001, I was chosen as among the best writers of Didache, a magazine of Bible reflections. Below is my winning piece:
Chona sat on a bench and saw a sports tournament going on. What was different about this tournament was that all the players were handicapped. Imagine, a race with blind people as the runners! How did they do it? To each player, a bell ringer was assigned to run ahead of him so he would know where to go. "It must take a lot of trust to follow one's bell ringer," she thought.
Chona was amused when one of the bells got broken, so the runner began following the bell ringer of the other team! And when suddenly, several ice cream vendors began ringing their bells, there was bedlam!
In life, there are so many bell ringers around us. Do we follow the noisy gongs, the incessant buzzers, the golden bells of this world or the soft tinkling of the Shepherd's bell?
Yup, in this noisy, noisy world, do we take time to listen to God speak to us? As I say this, I feel convicted because many times, I was too busy for the Lord.
Sorry, God. Please keep reminding me that You are my bell-ringer.
There is a second point to this post. Were it not for the Didache editor then, you would not be reading this. You see, up until then, I knew I could write but I didn't know I could write well. It took my winning the award to make me realize that I truly had a gift for writing.
Thanks, Ton Sison, for being my "talent discoverer". What about you? Don't you know that you, too, have the power to see the gifts that others have that they are blind to?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Yes, it takes great skill to...
...select the right coloring materials. I can do "mixed medium" - crayons, craypas, colored pencils, pentelpens, etc.
...stay within the lines [In life, we must stay within lines, too.]
...choose the most appropriate color - but I don't limit myself to what is "realistic". Anyway, it's a little world I am creating. I do my own experimenting.
...make the right strokes, usually in the same direction for that clean, polished look.
...decide between making the colors light or dark by the amount of pressure I make on the paper - i.e. the more I press down the coloring material like crayons, the darker the effect
...put designs and patterns where there are none, like on clothes of the girls.
...apply make-up on the girls [Hey, maybe I should offer my services as make-up artist some time.]
...sometimes outline the figures with pentel for greater emphasis
...select a good color for the background. [Yes, I even color the background of many of my pictures. It makes the whole thing even more attractive.]
I have a confession to make. Plenty of times in the past, when I was feeling low, down or even downright depressed, I would color coloring books! Then, I would feel so much better. Try it...it can be therapeutic for you, too!
All of us have our down times. Find your own "coloring book". Oftentimes, we need to be our own therapist.
Friday, January 16, 2009
One such test is about one's family and what sets it apart. My test results read:
Nimia, your family's different when it comes to Laughing Together
Cough drops? Nah. Aspirin? No thanks. You know that when it comes to a cure-all for your family, laughter truly is the best medicine. Whether you spend more time fixing meals, playing games, or going on picnics together, you and your family make any activity a cause for celebration and smiles.
Sure, like any family, every once in a while you face hard decisions that require a thinking cap and a serious face. But you know that by trying to find something positive in any situation, you can learn from every experience. What a great role model!
Indeed, the Gamo family is a laughing family. When we were growing up, we spent many of our meals exchanging jokes and anecdotes.
Our late father, Atty. Napoleon Gamo, was the witty one. He was known for his wise quips -- a sign of a brilliant mind. Example:
Q: What is worse than seeing a worm in your apple?
A: Seeing half a worm in your apple!
My elder brother, Kuya Noel, is the master mimic. He would sing sintonado (off-key) just like the late comedian, Ading Fernando. He would also imitate the character popularized by Leo Martinez, Tong-gressman Manik-Manaog. Even without having to copy anybody, my Kuya is naturally funny.
My three other siblings - Oyie, Norenz and Nerick - recycled jokes they heard from their friends. Their delivery was good enough to elicit the laughter due them.
Me? I was the corny one. Whenever I would start to crack a joke, everyone would change the topic. Just how corny am I? Assuming that you haven't read any of my past posts and don't know me from Adam, here is an example [Sorry, you don't have a choice. This is my blog.]:
Use Matthew in a sentence.
After shampooing, use a hair dryer para MATTHEW ang buhok mo.
That leaves us with just one member of our family. Our mom. She is absolutely the worst joke-teller I know! For three reasons:
1) She would repeat old jokes and anecdotes over and over again.
2) Just when she would reach the punchline, she would laugh uncontrollably.
3) And worst of all, when she is about to say the punchline, she forgets it completely!
Other people would get frustrated, but to me, my mom is the funniest!
Now that all of us have children, we have passed on the humor genes to the next generation. Here's proof:
Yup, it is a good thing we weren't a bunch of eggs. We would crack each other up. (Sorry, I couldn't resist that one).
P.S. Happy monthsary, everyone! That means that I have been writing in this blog for a month already. My goal is to post every single day. Can I make it? Abangan! (Watch out for it!)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
So, I'm sharing with you a poem I wrote when I was also in a romantic mood. In fact, it is the second to the last poem I wrote. [See January 3 post for the last one for my friends who got married recently.] Ironic, this poem is about vicarious love -- read, the kind of love that I don't have at present but that I'm not-so-secretly longing to have.
Here it is...
From Now On
Telling myself, “Someone somewhere is looking at these same stars”
Just as lonely as me, searching for that special someone.
How often have I walked along lonely beaches
Asking myself, “Why isn’t anybody holding my hand?”
Are not these hands worth holding?
Then I met you
From that day on, I knew you were the one
I have been waiting for all these years.
Now, you have asked me to share your life forever
The tears fell as I said “yes!”
Finally, here is someone I could call my own.
From now on, I shall ask myself these questions.
What did I ever do to deserve you?
What did I do to be loved by you?
Somewhere in my past, I must
Have done something to deserve your love
The angels must have taken note of all
My good deeds
And you are my reward.
What a sweet reward!
I shall treasure you forever…from now on.--------
Yes, part of me will always be a hopeless, incurable romantic. But part of me is truly grateful that there are many people loving and caring for me. So, to all my loved ones, family, friends who make the loneliness go away and to God whose love for me is unconditional, I say "Thank You, all of you!"
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Perplexed, I posted the following question in Yahoo Answers:
How to open a bottle of red wine?
A friend recently brought red wine for dinner and since it was not yet cold, we put it in the freezer. When it was time to open the bottle with a cork screw, nobody could do it! We ended up using two can openers, a pair of scissors, a skewer and a hammer to force down the cork instead of forcing it out of the bottle. What should we have done?So far, I have received 10 answers, some of which are serious ones like:
- Red wine should NEVER be refrigerated (or frozen).... It's supposed to be served room temperature! You would normally open it 10-45 min. ahead of time, to let it "breathe". Use a wine bottle opener with "wings" and the corks will come right out
- Is putting it in the freezer relevant to not being able to open the cork? You need to make sure the screw is put right down in as far as it can possibly go - even go one turn further - then if it has "arms' just pull down the arms. If it doesn't have the arms you need some muscles! It takes a few goes to get used to. PS drink red wine at room temp, it's better!
- Why the hell do you drink your red wine cold, let alone ice cold? You should have left the wine out and opened it when it was room temperature. In that situation a corkscrew would have worked just fine.
- Freeze wine completely, smash glass of with hammer, remove as many shards as possible, eat with spoon as a gratinata
- That's alcohol abuse rite there, you should never treat red wine like that.
- Get the bottle, smash it on the side of the kitchen counter avoiding the shards. Pour wine from shattered neck. Are you even old enough to be drinking?
So me? Alcohol abuser? No way!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
While going through my old files, I came across one labelled "Noypi". It seems that on May 23, 2006, I downloaded from the Internet a list of "wrong English" statements. [Sorry, I cannot acknowledge the source because I failed to copy it.]
The sentences are so funny I decided to share them with you. For my own input, I added (in parentheses) my continuation, my own version, and my responses.
"First and for all." (I have to speak what I have to say.)
"Take things first at a time." (And time will take a course.)
"The idea crossed at the back of my mind." (And it went out at the other ear.)
"That's what I'm talking about it." (You are not paying a tension.)
"This is our rooster of clients..." (And this is the chicken before the egg.)
"You can never can tell." (Or it is not a secret no more.)
"For all intense and purposes." (My goal is the aim as yours.)
"It's not my problem anymore, it's your problem anymore." (So, the solution lies with your hands.)
"You want to have your cake and bake it too." (Go ahead...the proof of the cake is in the pudding.)
"I ran into some errands." (And I bumped into a sticker.)
"One of these days is not like the other." (But today is like day ja vu.)
"Let's call it tonight!" (Yup, tomorrow's open [bukas])
"Burn the bridge when you get there." (Cross your fingers when you lick them.)
"Annulled and void." (Divorced is over.)
"Been there, been that." (Bean here, bean there...no other vegetables?)
"The feeling is actual." (What is emotion will remain emotion.)
"The sky's the langit." (The ocean's da-gat.)
"Base-to-base casis." (Its depend.)
"Please me alone!" (I need to belong to myself.)
"So far, so good, so far." (So near and yet so good to be true.)
"I couldn't care a damn." (I don't give less!)
"Hi, I'm Nimia. What's yours? (Your last name is Gamo, right? What's your surname?)
"What's your next class before this?" (I'm jologs, I don't have class.)
"I can't take it anymore of this!" (You're too match!)
"Are you sure ka na ba?" (I'm certainly!)
As Shakespeare would never put it, "That's all, that ends...well?"
Monday, January 12, 2009
My life is like a rosary – and my UP days belong to the joyful period. When one is young, pretty enough to have a string of boyfriends and a good number of admirers, friendly and sociable enough to be part of a big barkada and three student orgs, and smart enough to get good grades all the way till fourth year – how can she be anything less than happy? Part of that joy came from having bested thousands of other applicants and be a student in one of the country’s top universities.
My memories of UP include the following:
U- felt pride if you were a UP student because that meant “may utak ka”
N-on-stop dancing of swing to the tune of “Back in Your Arms Again”, “Souvenirs”, “McArthur Park”, “Last Dance” and the disco joints like Where Else were filled with college students
I -kot jeep was 25 centavos per trip (just like the Blue Book)
V-ery long queues especially during registration (and so I joined the Registration Volunteers Corps and got the schedule and teachers I wanted)
E -ducation par excellence! (I believe I got much more than the P300+ tuition fee my parents paid per semester)
R-ubick’s cube, game watch, pacman, and Space Invaders were the craze
S-tudent orgs, frats and sororities abounded and AIESEC, UPJMA, and IBA are the ones I joined mainly for socializing purposes; my 30-person barkada (of ex-Ateneans and Maryknollers) was called Kappa Pi Pi Fraternity and N.P.N Sorority (NPN stands for “Napagod Na”…sa kapapaypay)
I-nduction balls and fundraisers for orgs such as premiere nights (I remember AIESEC sponsored "Empire Strikes Back" and it was shown in the then very new PICC)
T-he Oblation (where else in the world does a naked man welcome all visitors with open arms?)
Y-ucky, smelly CRs (toilets were always clogged and did not flush but when nature called I just had to go!)
O-bsolete computers (those humongous ones using punched cards, remember?)
F-ashion included the Annie Hall look (about the only time in UP history when women wore long-sleeved blouses to school)
T-rees lining the
H-ard exams so I studied well (my studies were my priority in the midst of all the sosyalan and campus romances)
E-nvironment was conducive to studying – despite the occasional frat wars - and in my time, the students took their studies seriously even if there were a lot of extra-curricular activities going on
P-olitical rallies were “non-existent” to me because I was apolitical then like many Martial Law babies (that does not mean I do not love my country but I allowed myself to be deceived and brainwashed by you-know-who…forgive me)
H-arrassment (particularly sexual in nature) was unheard of...at least, it did not reach my ears and I was never a victim
I – felt right at home because I could mingle with both the upper income students and the less affluent ones…despite the image of our barkada being “burgis” (because we made tambay on the A.S. steps and spoke fluent Taglish), we were not
L-antern Parade, Christmas programs, Mutya ng BA (with men posing as women contestants), Metallic Dance Contest, swing contests, quiz shows, intrams, fun runs added excitement and enjoyment to school life at UP
I - and other students treated our teachers and professors with respect; only the really terror and funny ones were the butt of jokes
P-rofessors of Spanish: the longer the family name, the more
“terror”; and the shorter the surname, the more lenient like Prof. ______ who taught everything under the sun except Spanish (I remember he taught us the “double-barrel look” as part of his “The Art of Flirting” lesson)
P-ersonalities at that time included future beauty queens (Dang Cecilio), senators (Kiko Pangilinan), Cabinet members (Prof. Winnie Monsod who taught Eco)
I – graduated top of my BSBA class as magna cum laude …an achievement I will forever be proud of and always wins the admiration of people to this day
N – ot so many airconditioned rooms yet and fewer buildings than now (the Eco building and
E -very new schoolyear meant a new boyfriend for me but come second sem, the romance would be over...No matter how intense, painful or turbulent, I never let my love life affect my studies (To all my exes...thanks for the good times!)
S-oooh many other beautiful and happy memories!
Thank you very much, UP, for the wonderful four years you gave me!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Karen is a singer based in Spain. Visit her site at www.karen1962es.multiply.com to hear her sing. She dedicated one of my favorite songs, "Rainy Days and Mondays" to me.
I am grateful to Karen for all she has done for me. She has such a big, generous heart, I cannot count all the things she has given me (aside from happy memories, advice and money). Let me see, Karen has bought me a television, desktop, laptop, 2 webcams, digicam, celphone, DVD player...it's a pretty long list.
So here is my tribute to you, Karen:
Para mi prima muy bonita, Karen - Yo quiero dar te rendar homenaje en Español pero mi Español es muy mal so Ta-Tagalugin ko na lang (For my very beautiful cousin, Karen - I would like to give you a tribute in Spanish but my Spanish is very bad so I shall just write in Tagalog)
Kasin Karen...(Cousin Karen)
...Tulad ni Santa Klaus, mapagbigay KA-REN (Like Santa Claus, you are generous also)
...Tulad ni Sta. MoniKA at iba pang santa, mabait KA-REN (Like St. Monica and other saints, you are kind also)
...Tulad ni Karen Karpenter, Sharon Kuneta, at Charisse PempengKo, sa larangan ng pagKanta, mahusay KA-REN (Like Karen Carpenter, Sharon Cuneta and Charisse Pempengco, in the field of singing, you are very good also)
...Tulad ng KitKat, Krispy Kreme at ChoKnut, sweet KA-REN (Like KitKat, Krispy Kreme and Chocnut, you are sweet also)
At higit sa lahat (and most of all)
...Tulad ni Kristine Hermosa at aKo, maganda KA-REN (Like Kristine Hermosa and me, you are beautiful also)
Sa maikling salita, KaKaiba ka talaga, KAREN! Wala kang Katulad! Tunay kang may "K"! (In short, you are unique, Karen! You are unlike any other! You really have a "K"!)...Huh?
Muchos gracias! Belated Feliz Cumpleaños! Te amo mucho, Karen! (Thank you very much! Belated Happy Birthday! I love you very much, Karen!)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
As a writer and speaker, I collect quotations. In this post, I am sharing some of those which I find funny and added my own version or comments (in parentheses). Here they are:
"Life is short, eat dessert first" (If I do that, life will indeed be short...I'm diabetic.)
"Don't let schooling interfere with your education." - Mark Twain (But you still have to pay the tuition fee)
"Remember, in regard to writing, imitation might be the best form of flattery but they get the check if they publish it first." - Catherine (Imitation in writing is a form of plagiarism, dearie)
"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is...the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." - Mark Twain (The difference between the almost right word and the right word is...the difference between the ladybug and the lady.)
"If your ears are burning, someone is talking about you. If your ears are itchy, they are dirty" -- Ellen DeGeneres (If you bite your tongue, someone is thinking of you. If you keep biting your tongue, you're the one thinking of that someone.)
"If life is a piece of cake...how come I only get to lick the frosting?" - Doug "Hollywood" Davis (If life is a piece of cake...it has to be sugar-free for diabetics like me!)
"I discovered my wife in bed with another man, and I was crushed. So I said, "Get off me, you two!" - Emo Phillips (I discovered that my husband had another woman, and I was devastated...meaning, I went to de-vas-tation and rode a "vas".)
"Remember, the direction of your life is more important than its speed." (So men, learn to ask for directions!)
Let me end with:
"I don't want to gain immortality by my humor. I want to gain immortality by not dying." - Woody Allen (I don't want to gain immortality by my humor. I want to die...of laughter.)
Friday, January 9, 2009
As a writer, I have written poems, songs, magazine articles, teleplays (scripts for television), stageplays, screenplays (scripts for movies), books, etc.
Today, I would like to share with you the story, "Isang Araw, Dalawang Pager, Apat na Nilalang" (One Day, Two Pagers, Four Human Beings). To those of you who are too young to know what a pager is, this is what it looks like:
I attended a scriptwriting workshop under Mr. Nestor Torre and one of our assignments was to write a 15-minute comedy script. I submitted this script and it came back with these comments - "V. good. Very funny + sustainedly interesting". Mr. Torre liked it so much we read it in the workshop and he used it as example in other workshops of his.
I can't post the entire script here because it is more than 10 pages long. But here is the gist:
Alvin and Nestor don't know each other but they both go to the same gym. Inside the shower room, they give their respective pagers to an attendant. Both are excited but for entirely different reasons. Alvin (married) is going to spend time with his favorite callgirl while Nestor (single), who belongs to a Charismatic community, will know the "answer" of his sister in community whom he has been courting. The interesting thing is their pagers look alike, and both the callgirl and the sister are named Gretchen. [We shall call the former Gretch and the latter Sister Gretchen.]
The attendant mixes up the pagers. Both Alvin and Nestor receive the message from "Gretchen" that there has been a change of venue.
So, Alvin goes to the prayer meeting not knowing what a prayer meeting is. He at first thinks it is an orgy with all the people coming in.
Nestor arrives at Gretch's place and is shocked to find the callgirl dressed in sexy lingerie. Gretch thinks that her pimp included a new guy in her sked so decided to allow Nestor to come in for a "quickie" before Alvin arrives. Gretch starts to do her thing and poor Nestor had to close his eyes and pray.
Meanwhile, Alvin realizes that there is no orgy but a real prayer meeting. Someone shares his testimony and Alvin is moved to tears and remorse.
Back to Nestor, he "casts out the spirit of lust" in the room and Gretch says she is not possessed. Then Nestor holds her hand and says, "Sister, I want you to know that God loves You."
Alvin finally meets Sister Gretchen who has been busy in the music ministry.
Both Gretch and Alvin get "converted".
When Gretch realizes that Alvin needs to be contacted she pages him. It is the pager that Nestor has with him that beeps. This is when Nestor realizes how the mix-up occurred. He tells Gretch to page his number and ask where Alvin is.
Nestor and Gretch arrive at the prayer meeting just as Alvin is sharing his testimony in front of everybody. Gretch also boldly goes in front and shares her story.
Meanwhile, Sister Gretchen answers Nestor with her sweet yes.
Nestor and Alvin exchange pagers. Alvin says goodbye to Gretch, "Magkita na lang tayo sa langit" (Let us just see each other in heaven").
As Alvin leaves to go home to his wife, his pager beeps and the message is "JC: Welcome back to the flock". Who is JC?, he asks.
Nestor and Sister Gretchen just look at each other and smile.
What say you?
Once in a while, writers come up with a "masterpiece" and masterpieces are meant for sharing. So, if you like a copy of the full script let me know and I will gladly email it to you.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Today, let me talk about "Twinkle" (not her real name because she's too shy to let the world know how great she is). Last night, I wrote a thank-you letter in powerpoint presentation to her. But first as a backgrounder, just who is "Twinkle"?
1) She is a sister in community (we belong to the same Catholic Charismatic Community)
2) She was my prayer group leader
3) She is mestiza and prettier than me by "isang paligo" (one bath)
4) She loves to dance like me (she used to be a ballerina)
5) She is petite (we now have the same height since I lost 3 inches because of my osteoporosis)
6) She has the same birthmonth as me
7) She has treated me out and given me gifts many times
So here is the letter I wrote to her yesterday:
My dearest ______:
I want to thank you from the bottom of my bottomless heart for:
T - ruly caring for me through thick and thin (I was really fat when we first met, remember?)
W - ishing always the best for me (even during times when I least deserve it)
I - including me always in your prayers (because of them, I have come to believe in the power of prayer)
N - ot rejecting me when I am at my worst (to borrow words from that swing song - Last Dance - "...and when I'm bad, I'm so so bad!")
K - eeping in touch through the years (with you, I feel touched by an angel)
L - oving me more than just as a friend (more as a sister)
E - ver being there when I needed someone to talk to (countless of times in the past)
For all these and more, thank you! I love you, sister _____!
I keep saying that I count as among my greatest treasures, all the people who care for me - including friends like "Twinkle". (They more than make up for the fact that I still haven't found that special someone. But then again...)
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
In yesterday's post, I placed my very first video on this site. It was taken by my Kuya Noel last Christmas.
That one video was not just about my youngest nephew, Joaqui (although he sure was the star of the show). It was about...
...a happy family enjoying each other's company
...spending a special day with loved ones
...children having fun, young ones playing (ah! to be young again...I mean, to be that young again!)
...the young "once" playing mah jongg (a popular Chinese game - is it a form of gambling? Naah, how can it be, when the winner was not paid a single centavo!)
...we even had a resident "Santa Claus" who is an Uncle wearing a Santa hat simply to hide his "barren scalp" so to speak
...that is me in red and black (great profile huh?) - it's good you couldn't see my puffy eyes because I used old make-up applicator on my eyelids the previous day
...a lot of laughter (not the nervous kind, but real, unrehearsed, spontaneous laughter from young and old)
...a lot of eating (that was just food on the dining table that you see, there was still plenty left on another table - what can I say, us Filipinos just love to eat!)
So what was Joaqui doing? He was playing hula-hoops using a Wii console. What I want to point out is that his cousins and other relatives were cheering him on and giving encouraging words, "You can do it!" plus on-the-spot instructions on what to do.
That's my corny lesson for today: When we tell people, "You can do it!", it sure would help if you gave tips on just how they can do it. (Profound, huh?)
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
For the past few days, my mom and I have been "spring cleaning" her 62.98 sqm condo unit. Before even starting, I had a specific mindset...four objectives: return what was borrowed, donate or give away what we don't need, throw away was is non-useable, and keep the rest (storing them neatly in easy to find/retrieve places).
Omg! Little did I know that I alone had so much excess baggage!
Here are just some of the things that I had to throw away...
...tons of paper, mostly files on past marketing research projects dated nineteen kopong-kopong (way back)
...CD cases, non-rewritable CDs, cassette tapes, floppy disks [remember them?] and the like
...an instamatic camera that does not work anyway
...a rolodex (where the phone numbers were still six digits!)
...books which I have read but do not recommend for anybody to read or books which I myself have not read (boring, uninteresting, "dangerous" for the Christian soul, etc.)
...ballpens that do not write, coloring materials that do not color, highlighters that do not highlight (you get the drift)
...make-up and make-up paraphernalia that would cause me allergies should I use them (of what use are cosmetics if they will only make you ugly?)
...old underwear which are too scandalous to use as rags
...perfume bottles which are almost empty the contents can evaporate anytime
The list is much longer but I'm sure you get the idea.
In one of my books, I said, "In the journey of life, we all should travel light...No excess baggage!"
Take it from someone who used to weigh 190 lbs. Now I'm a "sexy and svelte" 136 lbs but I have to lose 20 lbs more as per advice of my physical therapist.
Of course, I'm not just talking of physical junk and extra pounds here. I mean, all that emotional and psychological baggage we carry around with us. Give them up! Much easier said than done of course...but should be done, nevertheless.
Monday, January 5, 2009
So how did our "tortilla de carne" (ground meat omelette) turn out?
As my cousin, Karen, would put it - "revueltos!". If it were hair, it would be wind-blown. In Tagalog, "buhaghag". In short, "sabog" (scattered). Like this:
What else went wrong?
1) The potato slices were too large (my mom cut them into smaller pieces) and too few
2) The onion slices were too large (and my mom cut them into smaller pieces) and there were too many left over because the onion was large
3) I didn't know how to slice the garlic either
4) I couldn't carry the oil bottle to pour on the pan (I still have a bad back)
5) There was too much ground pork and eggs we had to transfer some of the mixture to another pan
6) The whole process took 45 minutes!
I guess I have to give up my ambition to become a chef someday haha.
However, in fairness, the "scattered" omelette tasted delicious. Or were we that hungry? There must be truth in "Sa mga gutom, lahat masarap!" (To the hungry, everything tastes delicious!). So, with just my mom and I eating, here is what's left. Not bad for a first attempt!