Wednesday, December 21, 2011

# 52 LOST !!

no tropical island setting and thankfully, no plane crash, either. this is not the hit tv show. it is a jungle, alright.  singapore's subway system is, after all, one big cosmopolitan jungle for a first-time tourist.

the group is lost, no doubt about it.  in a subway.  in a city far away from home.  at ten in the evening. you come from a city without a subway system.  without trains. sure you have buses plying your busy streets but your bus drivers are not disciplined. they stop wherever they want to stop.  you can cross to the other side of the road whenever you want to.  that is unheard of in this city you are visiting.

you get off the train. you need to get on a bus that would take you back to your hotel. the bus is on the other side. you are told to use the subway.  the group goes down. animated still. make several right and left turns, walk several hundred meters. see a flight of stairs and decide to use that. walk. turn around. walk again. go down again. up again. on ground level once more. you take a moment and heave a big sigh of relief. you explore your surroundings and it hits you. you are back to where you started. tempers a-flaring.  nobody is smiling.

an hour into all the circuitous wanderings and just when you are ready to give up from exhaustion, you look up and see the sign. the group rejoices!

it would be a few minutes before midnight when you finally get back to your hotel. seeing the light of at the end of the tunnel.  make that the light at the end of the subway.  isn't that awesome?

Monday, December 19, 2011

#51 mabuhay!!

thank you for flying philippine airlines!

the stewardess welcomes all passengers on board with a smile in her voice. mabuhay!! she says it with so much life befitting a word that literally translates to 'life.'  it is the local counterpart of 'viva' or 'cheers.'  you are seated in coach, ever careful not to extend your elbow too far lest it encroaches on your seatmate's space.  it is time for the safety reminders.  you have memorized the instructions but you look up and listen anyway.   you think it is rude to keep your eyes on the book you are reading while someone is talking. 

you never fly on business class. your budget does not allow you to.  you have seen one of those traveler's kits given to the privileged few in business class.  you wonder what is inside the kit until someone gives you one as a trip souvenir. 

 favorite item in the kit is the eye mask. comes in handy on your next trip.  lights are out but the one seated beside you switches his lights on.  he insists on reading the in-flight magazine from cover to cover over and over and over again.

small things most often tossed aside or discarded are rendered useful in the hands of appreciative coach travelers. when joyfully simple things turn to simple joys.   isn't that awesome?

Friday, December 2, 2011

# 50 birthday post!

cardinal rule when going on a trip -- NEVER leave an external hard disk loaded with pictures behind.  not with kids.  not with crazy kids.

an album of not-so-flattering pictures (deliberately chosen) and an accompanying note posted to facebook awaited my return. it was a surprise like no other.  tete, not one who would write her thoughts,  decided to present me with this gift.  

48 rounded off is 50! :D  
There's this person we call, she's not our grandmother...of course not, she looks and is much too young to be our grandmother! :P 
Nanna is our aunt… but not only that, she’s a runner, blogger and book-reader. She also helps us with our homework. She helps us make essays, articles and check grammar. She also helps us edit videos and take pictures. She encourages and helps us do what we love to do. But most of all, she never fails to make us smile. She finds humor and joy in random things which causes us to burst into laughter at the most random times. She always has a way to make everything happy and cheerful. This is what makes Nanna NANNA.

Nanna – isn’t she awesome? hahahaha

Nanna! Happy 48th Birthday! I know you will probably get mad at me for posting pictures of you…’s okay, no matter how unruly your hair is and how big your face is in the pictures, you will always be beautiful to us…awwwww (put my name back on your gift list okay? hahaha) Yea..I’m seriously not as good as you in writing things…I was gonna make this long but it’s already 11:26 pm and I think I need to sleep...hahaha…Anyways…Happy Birthday again! Love you Nanna! 
yangi prepared her own surprise, too.  our in-house wacky artwork creator can tweak and fine-tune pictures and colors,  her trademark artistry and humor written all over her finished work.  it was an effort of love that she meticulously spent some great amount of time on.   she was quick to post it to facebook, too .

   of course, she wanted to include that decades-old black and white picture of an antiquated-frock-wearing  kid.

are they not the sweetest kids? they are sure to be on my gift list.  on the second list. i have two gift lists for christmas - the GIFTS TO BUY list and the GIFTS MONEY CAN'T BUY list. love and affection is something money cannot buy. i am giving that to them.  i can hear them whine now.

priceless birthday surprises from the kids.... isn't that awesome?

Friday, November 18, 2011

# 49 miracle baby!

all love begins and ends with motherhood - robert browning

but what is one to do when motherhood is elusive?  when the yearning is profound but the realization is beyond the bounds of possibility? modern science intervenes. the introduction of scientific resources has allowed for expectancies once deemed to be impossibilities.  sometimes, it works. sometimes, not.  while in the beginning, it is an option,  in the end, it is more faith than science. when science founders, faith prevails. the only true miracle is believing in God's infinite glory.  and so she came to be.  our miracle baby.  today she turns seven.

neenee may have been born in the US but she takes pride in her roots. often mistaken as chinese or korean, she would proudly proclaim that she is from the philippines.  she has promised to save up for another vacation back home.  it takes a long time for her to warm up in the guise of bashfulness. in her spirited moments, however, she can whip up a dance and song number.  in the middle of a mall, no less. this kid refuses to be called a baby. a couple of birthdays ago, she declared with insistence that she wants to be referred to as a lady.  

 neenee's only visit (so far)  to the philippines was in the summer of 2007 when she was two.  what is a vacation without the requisite face in the hole picture? 

the distance between neenee and her cousins is bridged by technology.  skype allows them to share special moments. even those lazy sunday mornings, too.

mamam did not live to see neenee.  she would have taken care of her as she did tete, yangi and gugud. apprised of the efforts to have a baby, mamam left heartening words before her passing. do not worry, she said, the baby will come. two years after,  neenee made her much-anticipated entrance.  everyone who saw her were astounded at her striking resemblance to mamam.

happy birthday, my dear neenee, i love you. you truly are a miracle baby! the joy you bring into this world is beyond any expression of the written word. beyond any articulation of the spoken word. do not grow up so fast.  in a wink of an eye, we have witnessed a strong-minded-eager-to-be-older youngster stepping into the shoes of that curly-haired spunky little moppet that we remember you by.  

neenee at seven....a kid at heart even when the notion of the teen years fascinates her.  isn't that awesome?

Monday, November 14, 2011

# 48 a baby no more!

baffling how fair complexion, slim build, tousled hair and colorful attires draw hysteria. korean invasion!! you have seen it all. korean dancing and singing groups strutting, prancing, spinning and bouncing onstage.  boggles one's mind how they pull it off. the korean actors are getting into the picture, too. they who have nudged the mexican ascendancy of the telenovela craze.  

she can dance like a korean.  sings along to korean songs, never mind if she does not understand the lyrics (does not hurt if she lowers the volume on those korean songs just a teeny-weenie bit).  can dress  like a korean.  can fix her hair like a korean.  she is, after all, a korean.  in her previous life.  or so she thinks.  fact is she is as filipino as her little button of a nose can attest to.

this koreana is our tete.  for four years, she was the only child, only grandchild and only niece in the family. to say she was spoiled is an understatement.  she was the apple of the eyes of popsie and mamam, first-time grandparents. every move she made, every breath she took, every step she made (yes, that song by the police) was the highlight of their days.  popsie loved to start his mornings by holding an infant tete in his arms. already lacking in dexterity after his first stroke, a few minutes was enough for him.  tete was the only grandkid he would hold in his arms. he passed away before the the little ones came and joined the brood. today our original baby is turning sixteen!!! definitely a baby no more! where did all the years ago, you ask.

popsie's second stroke left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.  he would often ask that tete be positioned on his lap while he was wheeled around.  at times, tete's stroller would be parked right beside popsie's wheelchair.

tete's illustration shows her comic side.  many a time she would attempt to deliver a punchline but would miss  the right timing.  she wonders why she elicits laughter more when she unwittingly says something not meant to be a joke.  

burnt bottom, hardened crust, bitter glaze and firm bun are elements of what tete thinks is an ugly-looking cinnamon roll. her first attempt at baking was a total disaster.  disillusioned for a few minutes, she vowed redemption.

failures challenge tete. like a spark plug that revs up an engine, it spurs her to act on perfection. accounts of her first half-marathon and kitchen feat show her fierce competitive nature.  in her mixing bowl of varied interests, she has effortlessly maintained balance.  stirring in her fascination with dancing.  folding in her passion for running. melting in her infatuation with the culinary arts.  blending in her diligence in her studies.  there is space for more in her bowl.

happy birthday, my dear tete. i love you, gang.  follow your dreams, they will take you to great heights. climb those mountains, the view is better at the top. run the distance, the road ahead will push you to limits unknown. dance to the rhythm but do the slow dance. do not be in a hurry. sing to the music. rewrite the lyrics if you have to.  this is what life out there is all about.

tete at sixteen.... a couple of years before the effervescence of youth is replaced by the calculated resolve of adulthood.  isn't that awesome?

Monday, November 7, 2011

# 47 kidtexting, part 2

yes, kids and cellphones go together like bacon and eggs or sugar and spice.

one would wonder how we managed to survive in the pre-cellphone-strictly-landline-only era.  life was simple then. life is simple for kids now, too.  they have cellphones without monthly bills to worry about. 

school-age kids who join fun runs  (with their omnipresent cellphones in hand) seem to forget that the race is for the first to reach the finish line. they think it is the first to send the most number of text messages while on the race course.  so they text and text.  there are far more worthy reasons to text during a race, though.

major races cover longer distances than others. forty-two kilometers is the full distance of a marathon. anything over the full distance is an ultramarathon.  due to the magnitude of the endeavor, be it a 42 or a hundred, runners bring on board a personal support crew (when allowed).  these are people who follow runners on support vehicles handing out sports drinks, food, sponges and more importantly, encouragement.  they come complete with banners and chants, more like pep squads. they may be doing their jobs on the side but in truth, they are the steersmen.  without them, runners may ran out of willpower.

on duty as a support crew,  tete does a good act and is quick to text.
'i gave a random person gatorade and she said thanks :) i am so proud!'

on race day, when the road ahead is long and the sun refuses to be their friend, runners appreciate a random act of goodness.  tete knows this quite well.  

a feel-good text.....  isn't that awesome?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

# 46 kidtexting, part 1

such a different scenario from the past! kids and cellphones, they go together now like mac and cheese or spaghetti and meatballs.

must be a text brigade going on with their classmates. has to be one or why would they be at it non-stop, keys clicking away.  sometimes, they spring a surprise on you with a random text.

wawa's toys are in baskets, plastic containers, bags and boxes.  they are grouped according to type.  she keeps track of her toys.  she knows which bag or basket has which toy.  sometimes, a toy gets lost. can't be helped.  it would be months, even years, before she remembers it and decides she wants it.  adamant about it, too.

she posts a drawing and sends this text announcing her loss. a reward is offered.
size          :   somewhat small
color        :   yellow and blue
it is a TOY.
if found, please return to  wawa
contact nos. : 0922**61**9
reward         : P22.50

there is nothing like the excitement over a first job. for most of us, it does not come till after graduation from college. some kids are lucky to have summer jobs. yangi was one of the lucky ones this past summer.  her job was to fax invitations to a seminar.  given a list of selected companies, she buckled down to the task at hand. her dedication was complete and wholehearted.  she thought of a name for her company that offers faxing services. FARTS - faxing agency republic towards symphony.  she even made a sign for herself with her designation. 

 a faxer and proudly so!  her (not so long) text says it all!
faxing is so exciting! you could feel the excitement when you dial the number. you can feel the excitement when you hear the ring. you could feel the excitement when you hear a person answer. you could feel the excitement when you ask for the fax tone.  you could feel the excitement when you click send. faxing is just so exciting!!!!

random text messages from kids.... isn't that awesome?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

# 45 being elmo!

you just have to love this fiery red forever-three-year-old furry package.

fascinated by a witty elmo. charmed by an affectionate elmo. entertained by a playful elmo.  he can cast that kind of magic spell.  elmo does.  he has his way of endearing himself to kids of all ages.  for most of their early childhood, elmo is their friend.  he sneaks and squirms and wiggles his way into their hearts.  no wonder big sister wawa insists that elmo should be the baby's first toy. burrowing into her box of old cast-asides, she surfaces holding a still new-looking, very huggable elmo. she rummages some more and comes up with an extensive elmo haul - elmo books, elmo CD's, elmo music player and a hodgepodge of elmo stuff. with her loot in her arms, wawa introduces elmo to the baby.   

just you and me, kid !

your eyes are luminous, elmo!!  luminous, that's a big word, don't you think? 

what big nose you have, elmo !!  this here is my little nose.  

 okay, girl, listen now,  i'm going to tell you stories of big bird, bert and ernie, mr. snuffleupagus, cookie monster, oscar the grouch.......

don't go yawnin' on me, girl !!!

some toys stay with us through the years. we refuse to throw them away.  we keep them for as long as we can. even when they are in tatters, threadbare and frayed. visual representations of precious childhood memories have a way of tugging at our hearts.  we love their distinct old-and-trusted-favorite-toy smell, too.

this one is going to be a keeper.  just by being elmo.  isn't that awesome?

Friday, October 28, 2011

# 44 shuteye !!

forty winks (not thirty or fifty but forty)..... nod off..... snooze.... power nap

however one calls it, a few precious minutes of sleep without the comfort of a bed is enough to perk up  a tired body.  who does not want a good night's sleep? big fluffy pillows, cushy, squashy bed, smooth (drooly) sheets!!  when all that spells comfort is momentarily a remote idea, a boat bench, a pool corner, an airport couch or a bus seat will do.  a church pew is not too bad for some.  of course, the classroom chair is an all-time favorite.  its movie house counterpart is a close second. there are people who manage to doze off while on their feet. what a feat !!   

on a dolphin-sighting adventure, tete grabs a few z's while waiting for the dolphins to make their appearance.

wawa thinks it better to take a nap with a life vest on.  the bobbing of the small boat lulls her to sleep in no time.

it is most harmful to take a dip in the pool between 10am and 4pm. gugud's daddy found a good solution for that - a shaded area of the pool away from the sun's ultraviolet rays.  away from the crowd, too.  water bed, anyone?

anything, anywhere, any which way for a shuteye.  isn't that awesome?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

# 43 with strings attached !

ashton kutcher preferred no strings attached in the romantic comedy film. this string certainly has attachments.

whether it is the full distance or the half or the 5k, the turnaround point is to a runner as the halftime is to some team sports player.  well, with a number of variances. while the halftime is the break between two halves of a basketball or football game, the turning point may or may not be equidistant to the start and finish lines. there is only one halftime in a game; there may be more than one turnaround point in a race.  the turnaround takes but a quick second or two; the halftime has the luxury of more minutes. the purpose is the same, though - to allow runners or players to take a deep breath, size up the situation, regroup or adjust strategies if needed.  now or never moment. 

marshals man the turnaround point lest runners miss the turn or hot-headed drivers, unmindful of an on-going race, claim ownership of the road.  

the timing chip is yet to be used in regular weekend races.  for now, it is reserved for major races.  in the absence of technology to measure time and distance covered, a string is handed out to a runner who makes it to a turnaround point. 

runners slow down when they make the turn as they wait for the string to be handed out.  this is quite a distraction for serious runners. one has to have quick hands or run the risk of a few seconds delay.

nothing fancy, just a regular string in the eyes of many. the person giving out the string would most likely say 'go for it, you're almost there!'  never mind if 'almost' means six miles or even thirteen miles away.  to a runner,  the string serves a purpose. attached to that string is a sense of fulfillment, a triumph of willpower over body.  at the turnaround point, weary feet forge ahead.  the finish line looms a few miles less away. confidence replaces doubt.  a power kick sparks the wavering spirit.

yes, almost there, indeed!   isn't that awesome?

Friday, October 21, 2011

# 42 sign of the times!

there it stands. right in the middle of a vacant lot, overgrown grass threatening to take over its stead.

you could see the sign from a desperately-seeking-repair part of your neighborhood street.  the lot is not for sale. you have known that for the longest time. the owner does not want to sell. out of the corner of your eye, you see the phone numbers on the tarp. that got your attention.  they must be selling.  must have changed their minds.  then you see the big and bold letters telling passers-by what you have thought all along.  the lot is, indeed, not for sale.

you are as much amused as you are bemused by what the sign says.  the lot is not for sale but you can call for inquiries.  there are numbers to call.

you wonder if you should try calling those numbers (erased on purpose) and make some inquiries.  just because the sign says you may do so.

hello.... i would like to inquire why the lot is not for sale.
.... would you know of any other property for sale?
.... may i know where you had that tarpaulin sign made?

a casual sign by the road to pep you up.   isn't that awesome?

Monday, October 17, 2011

# 41 when a child is born.....

a tiny star lights up way up high.....

christmas is indeed in the air as this christmas carol is being played on the radio too often now. a birth of a child brings to mind an old family story that has been passed on countless times.  it is popsie's story.  popsie is the kids' grandfather.  the story tells of his longing to have a son after a first-born daughter.  popsie was, for a time, an avid cockfighter.  in our part of the world, cockfighting is some kind of a national sport. a form of gambling, too.  on mamam's second pregnancy, popsie prepared his prized gamecock for the big fight. he placed his bet on a son this time around.  he bet big. and lost big. on the third, he bet again. and lost again. the cycle went on. until he gave up.  it was a losing game for him.

collectively, we are known as the first generation girls-girls-girls, popsie's term of endearment for his brood of five girls.  the second generation girls-girls-girls came courtesy of the grandchildren - five not-so-little-anymore charmers. today, they are joined by an adorable hours-old pink bundle of joy.

 she opened her eyes and everyone fell in love with her.

spotlight was on our little doll  as she was  wheeled closer to the viewing window. 

yangi, wawa and gugud excitedly take pictures of the newest kid in town.

in the olden times, instamatics used films to take pictures and developing them took ages.  organizing the pictures meant voluminous albums that weighed a ton. in the megapixel world of iBaby, digital pictures take just a wink of an eye. a gazillion shots are recorded.  today's albums? they are as light as feathers.

the diary is a school requirement.  yangi named her diary cherry.  today's entry is a message of thanks for her baby sister - 'thank you so much, Lord God, Mama Mary, St. Jhudiel and Jesus.'

wawa's entry says ' my baby sister is born.  she is so cute.  i wonder if she will look like me when she grows up.  now i am an ate (older sister).
  i am not the youngest anymore.'

when a child is born, a star shines way up high.  high up in heaven where popsie and mamam would be smiling.  popsie would have lost again if cockfighting was allowed in heaven.  it is okay, pops, she has your nose.  

girls-girls-girls latest member is the family tree's newest twig.  girl power! isn't that awesome?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

# 40 skeletal remains !!

not something for CSI. not the halloween kind of skeleton, either. too early for that.

this one is about food. filipinos love to eat. no exaggeration there! in most households, there are three full meals and two snacks in between to partake of each day.  midnight snacks may be on the menu, too.  a full meal would consist of rice and a viand or two.  rice is staple; viands can range from the regular to the more quirky table fare.  foreigners are often horrified by tales of our gastronomic ingenuity. no parts go to waste in our kitchens.  gross as it may seem like, we find creative ways to cook innards and exterior organs and yes, even blood (of the pig). that is some fodder for your imagination. our palates are flexible, our stomachs made of sturdier linings.  call it resourcefulness.  call it intestinal fortitude.

the belly is harmless but the eyes .... seriously?  eating the eyes of a fish is not uncommon in our part of the world.  the thought is disgusting to many.  to the un-initiated to filipino ways,  fish eye-gouging is anything but delicious.  

a simple grilled fish can make a hearty meal. using one's fingers to hook out the tiny bits that stubbornly cling on to the bones is the best way to do it.  a completely stripped yet unbroken skeleton of a fish is all that remains on the plate.  isn't that awesome?  BURP

Saturday, October 8, 2011

# 39 spanish 101: tio y tia

time was when spanish was compulsory in college.  spanish influence is obvious and unmistakable in our language.  puedo entender un poco.  gracias, google translator.

theirs was a big family. five brothers, five sisters. tio and tia, we call them. uncle and aunt.  legends, we call them, too.  mama was # 6.  she has been gone for nine years now. cancer. eight months were all we had. she fought but lost the battle.   just 2 brothers and 2 sisters now.  growing up, tios and tias were accorded respect.  they were elders; mingling with them was improper. we kept distance. they were uncles and aunts, after all.  with the years creeping up fast on the third generation folks (that is us), the gap has been bridged.  respect is there for that is a constant but the bond is stronger now.  an element of friendship makes it so.

74, 82, 68
 that is not a typo.  got their ages right!  i say that with all the unconcealed pride in my heart.  this picture, taken over a month ago, unveils our extraordinary lineage.

it  would seem like they have found the fountain of youth for how else can they look so young yet share 224 years among them. an equally youthful 72-year old tio was not able to attend this special occasion. they are blessed with that gene that allows them to look younger than their chronological age.  fortunately, they have graciously passed that gene on to us. the whole clan unanimously & shamelessly agrees to that.  any objection overruled.

mamam joins the tias and tio in a picture taken almost twenty years ago.  oceans kept them apart back then.  they relished any chance they could be together.  it gave them reason to celebrate. 

the hardest part of not having mamam around anymore is not being able to feel the warmth of her hug. hugging tia is like being in mamam's arms again. 

gugud gave this memento that says it all.  nowadays, kids think aunts and uncles are peers. they would ask an aunt to give them a massage. unheard of and totally unacceptable in our time.  they think it is cool that they can do that now.

ours is a big clan.  the family tree continues to grow, its branches diverging with every extension.  the fifth generation twigs and sprigs that are starting to sprout will most likely not know the family's remaining legends, much less the other six.   they will have to content themselves with our stories and pictures.  if they have the time to listen to old stories and look at old pictures.  

there is nothing like knowing the tios and tias as we do now.  isn't that awesome?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

# 38 take my breath away !!

tom cruise. top gun. fighter jets making high speed passes. remember how you swooned over him?  he took your breath away, didn't he? this song was the movie's love theme.  you played it on auto replay on your cd player for a long time.  of course, this was way before the age of the mp3 players. now they have upped the number and it is mp6.  seems like mp's are hopscotching away. 

how do you take one's breath away?  the tried and tested way is through your own sweet-smelling breath. a blast of freshness.  a clincher, that one is!  a garlicky hint of what you had for lunch earlier is not too pleasant a reminder when you lean over to whisper sweet nothings.  the two cups of coffee you had? that would be enough to give someone a caffeine kick the moment you open your mouth.  one can even easily tell what flavor that bag of chips you had for snacks was.   morning breath is the worst.   a stick of cigarette, too.  oh and beer can be intoxicating to someone who does not drink.  start talking and the whiff is enough.

colgate is the leading toothpaste brand in our part of the world.  when a kid is asked to go to a sari-sari store  (smallest of convenience stores)  to buy toothpaste,  she would most likely ask for colgate.  she actually means any brand of toothpaste. 

you are not frugal by any means. you just know when to give up on your tube of toothpaste before opening a new one. you work hard for your money and throwing away a there-is-one-more-brushing-in-there-if-i-squeeze-real-hard tube is like throwing away your hard-earned money.  so you huff and you puff and you give it your all.  you twist and turn the tube and curl it all the way up.  the tube ends up in a fetal curl.  you give it one final push.

you are rewarded with that last squeeze of paste.  isn't that awesome?

Friday, September 30, 2011

# 37 across the miles

the drums beat in rapid cadence, a rhythmic pattern that is easy to dance along to. that is the beat of the sinulog, a festival observed in our city every january.   

the week-long celebration has origins religious in nature. it has, however, taken a more festive atmosphere, carnival-like revelry if one may say so. the mardi gras is the festival's crowning point.  it is a visual delight like no other.  perhaps, aural, too. just stand away from those thunderous speakers that make your heart beat like it is going to explode any minute.

the running community looks forward to the sinulog for a different reason. the running craze that has taken off at hypersonic speed in recent years has paved the way for the staging of the cebu marathon at the start of the sinulog week.  on race day, the people take to the streets like it is one big playground. runners and supporters, dancers, drumbeaters and onlookers occupy every inch of space along the length and breadth of the race route.

cebu comes alive in blazing colors at the city's premier road race.  traditionally scheduled on the second sunday of january,  this race is as much a celebration as it is a test of endurance for the participants. 

a race that raises the bar is the best antidote to the running fever. the higher the standards are set, the better it is for the running enthusiasts.  each year, the organizing club, the cebu executive runners club,  pulls out all the stops. theirs is a tough act to follow. as it is with any other race, a shirt comes with the race packet.  a stellar race warrants a top-notch shirt.  with its logo splashed across the front, this year's shirt makes one proud to be part of the city's mother of all races.  a much coveted shirt, it is worthy to be given as a souvenir to special people.

teacher vicki first visited cebu in 2006 on official business.  she has been back three more times.  in 2008, she was thrilled to know that a race was scheduled a few days after her arrival. running was little heard of then and races were few and far between.  her podium finish was one for her memory bank.  unfortunately, there were no races when she came to visit in 2009.  she has heard of the cebu marathon and has been enticed to experience it for herself.   she has yet to.   

across the miles, in far-away kansas city, KS, the highlight of the inaugural cerner15k is a finish inside a newly-built stadium that carries the livestrong vision.

 the race pictures are out. you see teacher vicki wearing a familiar shirt. you get a glimpse but the logo is partly covered by a very mascular arm.

 that is my shirt! that is my city! that is my race! your heart swells with pride.  

 and then you get a clear shot as teacher vicki eyes the finish line.  quite a distance that shirt  has traveled! 

teacher vicki sprints to a top ten finish in her age group.  way to go, t. vicki!!  a few months short of her 50th birthday, she said if she was 50 at the time of the race, she would have topped her age group.  no, thank you, ma'am, i would choose to be top ten in the 45+ anytime than top the 50+ age group.  am in no hurry to get there.

the 2012 edition of the much-anticipated race will be officially launched in a few days.  a different tagline banners the event but the fire is there. 

doubtlessly, the new logo will look good on a shirt as its predecessors have. perhaps the shirt will cross the finish line on foreign shores again. that runner will feel the beat, get on its feet and leap across the miles.  isn't that awesome?

Monday, September 26, 2011

# 36 eat all you KHAN !!

speaking of mongols, there is one other mongol who is a mall fixture. kublai is his name.  kublai khan.

it is one of your favorite restaurants.  it is the kids' number one choice, too. well, maybe not quite as it is a toss-up between this mongolian delight and a chinese dimsum feast for them.  the concept of this place is simple. you get to choose the ingredients for your meal.  sauces and spices, meat and vegetables, rice and noodles. these are all displayed on the counter for you to choose from.  it is all your making. calculated guessing would be more like it.  you pick out everything you want and hand over your bowl to the cook who lights the fire.  that is all the cook does.  lights the fire and mixes the bowl's contents.  nothing else  is added;  you have chosen that yourself.  you go back to your table and wait.

the right mix of sauces and spices will make or break your meal.  it takes some serious thought before you scoop out your choices.   

you have no problem with the meat options;  you seek out your favorites.

a section of the counter reminds you to stay healthy, eat vegetables.   you throw some into your bowl to mix with the noodles.

some expert handling is needed to keep the stuff from spilling out.  there you have it !! with some balancing techniques, your meal is ready for the cooking.

yes, you get it.  you only have yourself to blame if your meal does not taste exactly the way you want it to.  no fault of the cook.

after a few minutes of waiting,  you have one hot and steamy bowl in front of you. you can't wait to dig in.

one spoonful (a chopstick-ful actually) and you know you nailed it!! it is Perfection with a capital P! a fusion of spices that teases your palate.  not too spicy, not too salty. steam escapes and you breathe in such savory aroma from your bowl.  you almost burn your tongue in your haste to take another chopstick-ful. 

and the final nicety bringing your meal to perfection? you are not paying; a friend is treating you out.  isn't that awesome?