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?