Our little sun-fest will soon be over.
The sound you hear is the sound of me sighing.
Here I am with my brothers. There are three things of note (or of no note whatsoever, depending on who you might be) about this picture.
1) We have not taken a picture together since my wedding day.
2) It documents our first vacation together in more than 20 years.
3) This is not a perm gone comically wrong; it is my actual hair,
left to its own insane devices.
(I figured if I was on vacation, my hair should be, too.)
Friday, April 29, 2005
Our little sun-fest will soon be over.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Here is the spot where I impressed my nephews by reaching down into the water and—all She-Ra Princess of Power-like—uncovering the most humungous black rocks from below and hoisting them up. What can I say?—Soooo easy to entertain.
They're headed back home to the North Shore on the noon plane. :•(
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Monday, April 25, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005
I love the Chatelaine's new shopping blog! And since blatant rip-offism is the sincerest form of flattery (and since wonderful Jean did it, too), I present my Ranch 99 receipt from the other day:
white shrimp headless
kushpai sha he noodle (3 packs)
meiji yan yan chocolate & strawberry
glico kapukapu kapuriko chocolate
beef flank steak (2 packs)
Okay, not too exciting. But read between the shopping lines, would you? I'm sure there's someone fascinating in there.
Oh, who am I fooling? This is not a warm and fuzzy Friday. In fact, I just had to ask the contractor (Sadistic Contractor Games aside, he's really quite nice) to help me rescue Risa, who flipped headfirst over an 8-foot fence into a neighbor's backyard. The configuration of the street is such that though this person is my neighbor, it would have taken me some minutes to run around to their house (they weren't home) to get Risa. So the contractor and his assistant climbed over the fence and handed her—kicking, screaming, and covered in dirt—to me. She was checking the "bug house" she'd hung on the neighbor's tree.
I suck at this half the time.
Nevertheless, happy weekend all.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Yesterday? Day 1 of basketball. First of all, it took all my skills of manipulation to get them to don the yellow and red practice jerseys. Jersey that the boys, by the way, immediately threw on. "Sorry," I said to Coach A. "We're having fashion issues." After they spent 20 minutes spastically slapping at the ball ("I want you to try to push the ball when you dribble," said Coach A. "See? Push the ball. There you go, there you go, no, no, that's slapping again...") and/or hitting their feet which sent the ball zipping all over the court, I called the spousal unit and left a message. "I just want you to know that I think our dream of living vicariously through their WNBA careers is pretty much dead." Then I hung up and started laughing because, truth be told, I pretty much crack myself up.
The good news is that they didn't give up despite their frustration. And, well, there's always Day 2. Meanwhile, I'll sip hot tea and let my vocal chords heal.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
And now I've built it up too much. We're going to Maui, that's all. On Sunday. For a week.
neener, neener, neener!
For anyone who's wondering, my word count is now 2,676. For anyone who's not wondering, I don't blame you. And I still like you. A little.
Have you all seen the beeeyootiful cover of Leny's new book? Can't wait to get my hands on it!
And, finally, today's Sadistic Contractor Game is called, "Sometimes Your Water Will Be On; Sometimes Your Water Will Be Off. Pee Accordingly."
Monday, April 18, 2005
And now, without further to-do, a recent Google Me This list:
1. cornrows + for + white + men
2. anna + kournikova's + butt
3. pinay + beauties + video
4. jack + n + poy + game
5. fingerless + gloves
6. high + school + smoking + pits
7. steve + miller + is + a + stoner
8. billy + don't + be + a + hero
Each of these thrills me in its own special way, but I must confess a fondness for "anna kournikova's butt." And perhaps that will thrill you in its own special way.
Clearly, I need sleep.
This morning at Ranch 99, Lea requested some coins to throw in the sad little fountain out front. I handed her two pennies and told her she had to make a wish with each one. She tossed the first one in. After an excruciatingly long wait, she wished for "ice cream." (It sounded like this: "I wiss...I wiss...I wiss...I had...ice cweam!") She tossed the second one in and yelled, "I wish for a ponytail!"
And you know what I wish? I wish I could trade places with her for a day.
Friday, April 15, 2005
On the iPod: All Day Music - War (Quick! Name the patron saint of musicians!**)
To my left: Child magazine (Oh, you're so smart! Name the patron saint of children!***)
On the floor: box of s'mores Luna bars, almost empty (Now invent a patron saint of nutrition bars that are high in calcium and folic acid!****)
Okay, dumb game. But never mind—I am happy today! The sun is out, my shower was—miraculously—uninterrupted by small children tramping in and out, my hair is shiny, I'm wearing a girly skirt with a black peasant tee, and my red Cynthia Rowley flats are making their first Spring showing. Also, my current word count (see previous post, if you like) is 2,308. And also, the sub-floor is down in my kitchen.
So ends another Warm & Fuzzy Friday post. But before I go...behold the patron saint answers:
*St. Francis de Sales
**St. Cecilia or St. Gregory the Great
***St. Nicholas de Myra
****Um, how about St. Excuse to Basically Eat a Candy Bar?
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Hey, wake up.
To be more specific, I've written a story that's 1,997 words—words that I am perfectly happy with, by the by—and I've found a place for which it's suited (at least in the alternate universe known as VerWorld) in every way except that said place is asking for a minimum of 3,000 words. Coming up with 1,103 words is no small task for me. The only reason I'm considering it is because someone I trust read the story and liked it, but said she wanted it to be longer. So. How to proceed? One superfluous, awkwardly placed flashback? Blatant adverb abuse? Or maybe I'll comb carefully (ha! how's that for adverb abuse?!) through my trusted reader's feedback because—what a lucky duck I am—she generously pointed out the spots she felt might benefit from, well, more words.
I'm going for 100 words a day, each a jewel. Wish me buena suerte...
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Kutsinta: A sticky rice cake that is served for
Which Filipino Food Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
An aside having very little to do with my kutsinta-ness or lack thereof:
Place: Northshore, Oahu
Thing: Handpainted, spelling-challenged sign reading "Cold Cocont Here."
Kuya's Quip: "Hey, I know her."
Monday, April 11, 2005
The flutter of wings. Then nothing.
He cheated. He was a tiny, sneakered, whining ping-pong cheater.
She prayed once to lose her tonge and then remembered a girl who had none, her cheeks sunk deep in search of their rightful shape. She grew ashamed.
She was thirteen years old, but had the perfectly shaped hands of a beautiful woman. This was not necessarily the root of her problems, but it was certainly the beginning. Because when Arturo Jonas Miner saw them lifting a can of Coke to their owner's lips, he knew he must have them. At first he simply wanted to paint them, but the more he stared the more focused his desire became. He wanted to caress the hands, nurture and kiss them. He wanted to hide them from the rest of the world and smother them in cream.
I often tell people that my grandfather was the bastard son of a wealthy Spanish businessman whose name I never quite caught. It is close enough to the truth not to be a lie and besides, it is far easier than explaining that I came out looking this way because my great grandmother fell in love with a Chinese food importer (who was already married to a fifteen-year-old girl who would one day become a popular lounge singer in Manila) and, in turn, their daughter fell in love with an American soldier with black skin and yellow eyes. He didn't return her affections, but in his carelessness he left behind a child—my mother—who to this day draws curious stares from strangers. My mother fell in love with nobody at all, and as far as she knows my father was a German exchange student who studied at the International School one especially rainy and humid summer.
So maybe that will help. You never know.
Friday, April 08, 2005
That happened this morning. I keep waiting for the day to get better, but it looks like a no-go. Keeping my fingers crossed for the weekend.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Anyways, I'd completely forgotten that I used Oliver's Names Above Houses one week! Though I only produced two less-than-stellar paragraphs, I thought it might be fun to show you how I responded. Or maybe it won't be fun. Maybe it will be incredibly painful. In which case, I'm sorry, but it's too late to turn back now.
So, the first sentence belongs to Oliver:
All day he would gather twine from his mother's frayed skirts and braid them into wreaths of darker hues.
Years later, when he was no longer a young man, he would find the lumps of cloth in his attic in a box marked "Memories." He turned them over in his hands, impressed by the weight of some of them, but unable to remember how they came to be or what they represented. He held them to his nose, then against his cheek. He threw one at a mouse that scuttled out from behind a suitcase.
Eventually, he brought the box downstairs to his wife. Being a practical woman, she used them to block the terrible drafts that snuck through the cracks beneath the doors in the house they both hated. It was winter in Chicago, and they were such a long way from home.
And, well, that is all.
•The foyer is now the kitchen (let's hear it for hot plates and microwaves!).
•The bathtub is now the kitchen sink.
•The linen closet is now the pantry.
•The living room is now the office and dining room.
•The den is now the playroom.
•Our bedroom is now a storage facility.
•The upstairs bedrooms and bath do not exist for three more weeks.
Perhaps the worst part is that we moved all three girls into Lea's bedroom and, being naive and short-sighted, moved only the mattresses, not the beds. Which means that the room is essentially one big fucking trampoline.
I'll be making a trip to the emergency room before all this is through. Whine, whine, whine.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Not to get all historical on you, my unsuspecting readers, but I spent the morning reading about the Fall of Bataan and now of course can't help but blog about it. I didn't, by the way, realize how close we are to the anniversary of the surrender, which happened on April 9, 1942 and is called "The Day of Valor" in the Philippines.
So the essay I was reading, "King of Bataan," written by one Thaddeus Holt, praises General Edward King Jr. who, in direct opposition to President Roosevelt's no-surrender order, made the heart-wrenching decision to hand over his gun and his starving, diseased troops—some 66,000 Filipinos and 12,000 Americans at the onset of the last battle—to the Japanese. When he asked for assurance that his men would be well treated, the Japanese staff colonel standing in for General Homma (who refused to take the meeting with King) famously replied, "The Imperial Japanese Army are not barbarians."
We all know what happened then: up to 10,000 Filipinos and 650 Americans died on the death march to Camp O'Donnell where, in a few more weeks, at least 15,000 more Filipinos and 1,600 Americans would perish.
Not wanting his boss, General Wainwright, to bear any responsibility for the surrender, General King made the decision on his own. I can't imagine his anguish once he began to witness the gross physical and mental abuse of his men at the hands of the Japanese. After the war, he fully expected to be court-martialed for disobeying orders, no matter that his decision saved thousands of lives. Instead, his career was simply over—something he apparently never complained about. He took care that those who served under him received medals and recognition, and through it all, he pointedly defended that arrogant arse MacArthur, who returned the favor by pretending not to know him (not know your third in command? Whatever, Dougie) at some reception in Washington. "I believe he does not like to be reminded of Bataan," King wrote to a friend. You think?
Anyways, I found this whole story—which I later googled like mad, you can bet—terribly moving, especially knowing that Bino's late father and my Lola Engueng's late husband were both survivors. Thaddeus Holt ended his essay saying that General King devoted much of his retirement to the Red Cross. When asked to speak at this local function or that, he stuck to a few themes, one of which was Do not forget the loyalty of the Filipinos. He died in 1958. His headstone bears words from St. Luke. It says, "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Here is a picture of General King.
Here is Bino's poem for his father, Augusto Roa Realuyo, who was a Bataan veteran and Death March survivor.
And here, a link to articles about the heroic Philippine Scouts.
Monday, April 04, 2005
P.S. Thanks, all, for the bday snail/e-mails! And a special thank you to kuya mike for my killer mango mousse cake...
Friday, April 01, 2005
You Say It's Your Birthday...
I'm going to count yesterday as a birthday treat because I had a grown-ups only lunch with my cousin and her husband at Machi in J-town. The conversation was excellent, if a bit macabre: my cousin is the principal of a private special education school and her husband teaches special ed. at Washington High in the city, and they told me all about behavior in young kids and teenagers that signals future sociopathic tendencies. Yikes. We then raided Kinokuniya Bookstore, where I stocked up on books for the girls before moving on to the stationery store to participate in a frenzy of notebook-buying that left me breathless and glassy-eyed.
A fine afternoon.
I am now going to share the secret to an excellent birthday. Listen up, one and all...the key is to have low expectations. That way, all the sweet little things that happen—from a couple of cards in the mail to, I don't know, a chewy fudge brownie (no nuts, thanks) after dinner—automatically become so sparkly that by nightfall you begin to glow from the residual light. It works, I swear.
Does that count as a Warm & Fuzzy Friday Post? If not, let me know and I'll give it another shot before the sun sets.