Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Calm Before the Storm or Ver's Tale of Terrible Women

I'm in an odd limbo state at the moment, calmly awaiting what I am sure will be the mother of all back-to-school meltdowns from one, some, or all of my kids. For now, all is well and, in fact, I have never witnessed such eager-beaver-ness from my brood. But as sure as I'm blogging here, drama will unfold. And until it does, and I successfully set things right, I just don't have the room in my head to re-start all of the things that I seem to have put on hold since June. Writing things, mostly, I think. Although it should be noted (by me, not by you, dear ones), that I did, somehow, finish a story this summer.

Speaking of meltdowns, I've had quite a few in the last two days. Little spasms of horror, tiny moments of wanting to do violence. Mothers who are new to the school and for whom our school is pointedly NOT their first, second, or even third choice, have uttered some of the most bigoted and willfully ignorant things I have ever had the displeasure of hearing in conversation. At one point, I was sandwiched between two of these horrible beings, attempting—much to my permanent shame—to make them feel better. I'm flailing; I don't know how to deal with such women. Women who say their daughters have no one with whom they can "identify" in their class. Who wonder out loud why all the kids who can't yet speak English are not kept in one classroom. Who refuse to believe there is even the SLIGHTEST possibility that a child of color and lower socioeconomic background might be as brilliant and capable as their own. Who refuse to acknowledge the existence of mothers who are not carrying the right bag or who have not been botoxed to within an inch of their sad, sorry lives.

It's not that I can't think of a hundred smart-ass, cutting retorts; I can. But that's the easy way out, and for some reason I'm willing to work at this (maybe I should do like AD and invoke the patron saint of lost causes). Earlier today, I was wondering why, exactly, these women believe their children are better than the other children. And then I realized maybe they're afraid they AREN'T. Fear being the root of all evil and whatnot...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back to Forms. I Mean "School." Back to School.

I can think of only one reason why it's no fun to have 3 children who are close in age: having to fill out stacks and stacks of school forms in triplicate. Surely there's a better way. Surely someone has heard of a little thing called A COMPUTER. Surely we could do this online.

Still, I have to admit there's a certain ritualistic satisfaction in breaking out the ol' stylus and going to town on all the little boxes and lines and whatnot. I'm paralyzed not only by my obsession with perfect penmanship while completing forms, but by the number of decisions I must make, the most pressing being whether I should mark my answers with a checkmark, an "x," or perhaps a minimalist (albeit somewhat aggressive) slanted slash. Such minutiae can bog me down, especially when it's already 10:10, and I have yet to fill out the first form, fold the laundry, make the waffle batter, or pack the lunches for tomorrow.

Knowing that I will be up past midnight does nothing to spur me on. If anything, I become even more maternally nonchalant. Eh, I say, what's the difference, really, between midnight and one in the morning? Well, I'll tell you. The difference between midnight and one in the morning is that the latter results in the the next day's absolute need to wear sunglasses. Indoors.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Letter to the Six—Count 'Em SIX—People Who I Witnessed Picking Their Noses While Driving Their Cars on Saturday

Dear Six People,


Stop it.

Stop it.

You are in your car driving on a public thoroughfare and/or freeway; you are not INVISIBLE.


Your Nesting Ground Mistress

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Now Channeling...Joni Mitchell

I've looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose and still somehow...


I'm in a funk. Said funk can be attributed to any number of mundane or not-so-mundane things. Lea has lost her first two teeth, for example, a happening which spun her briefly into an existential crisis. For me, it's another indicator that I have no more babies. And dammit, I didn't know I liked 'em so much until now.

Also, I was thinking that I can't write. That my writing, I mean, is whoa-nelly-bad. This feeling eased up when I sent some stories to Cecilia for consideration in her anthology. Whether or not she decides they fit with the project, I realized that my writing is not whoa-nelly-bad. It's kind of whoa-nelly-that's-not-too-terribly-bad. But, still. The whole episode has left residual funk in my funk drawer.

And then there's the fact that all the little squares on my calendar are filling up with distinctly non-thrilling (non)events, resulting in an acute case of claustrophobia.

Date night, where art thou? What with the last two weekends at the lake and the next two claimed by the aforementioned calendar squares, we'll be well into September before I can discover the fate of one Jason Bourne. I see now that the benefits of a lobster roll (no, seriously, this Old Port Lobster Shack joint in Redwood City of all places, serves a c-r-a-z-y lobster roll) and a movie with the spousal unit on a Friday night is kinda like...magic.

Wave if you see me. I'll be the woman sitting on the curb, reading a book, and waiting for my Big Yellow Taxi.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Still Time to Grow Up

The deadline for GROWING UP FILIPINO II has been extended to the end of this month. Please click here for the original call.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Best of, Lake Edition

Best sign visible from the road on the way to the lake: "Poot's House of Cactus"

Best Speedos (and headgear) in show:

Best Reading Material: Charlotte Bronte's JANE EYRE, illustrated by Dame Darcy:

Best ice cream treat that is NOT a Choco Taco: "Chips Galore," which is a bastard cousin of the remarkable It's It. Lea's vote goes to the classic soft serve twirl. Here we are partaking in our individual favorites:

Best fried item at snack bar that is NOT onion rings: shrimp

Best sighting of a lake animal: an albino deer *SCREAM*

Best lake song performed on sister-in-law's deck: this is a tough one, but I think it was nephew Charlie singing "My Angel" with Mike G. on drums. Click here (track 2) for a listen.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Me & My iSight, Plus a Writing Prompt

I should be writing, but instead I am:

1) Waiting for my brother to sign on to iChat. Helllllo?!! He moved to Madison Freaking Wisconsin yesterday, which I have to pretend to be okay with, but which I am so NOT, which is why I am waiting for him to sign onto iChat. Helllllooo?!

2) Making faces at myself on my iSight camera.

3) Eating Monster Trail Mix and noticing how absurd I look while chewing. Thank you iSight!

4) Looking at the background in my iSight and realizing I have not yet done the dishes. Thank you again!

5) Also? I have manga hair right now. Does this always happen to my hair at 10 pm? And is there a technical term for manga hair?

Okay, I give up on the iChat thing. What time is it in Madison Freaking Wisconsin, anyways? I will go now and work on the writing prompt that Cecilia sent out. The prompt was:

Outside the Parroquia de San Miguel Arc Angel...

And so far I have written:

Outside the Parroquia de San Miguel Arc Angel, she sat on pigeon shit.

I don't know about you, but I think this is a promising beginning. Not for my character, of course, but for me.

Bonus visual:

Manga Hair & Dirty Dishes!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Good News, Bad News

I'm playing Scrabble with Risa and Vida.

It's excruciating.

That's right: E-X-C-R-U-C-I-A-T-I-N-G.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Just & Here

Just Junot Diaz reading his now-classic, "How to Date a Brown Girl (Black Girl, White Girl, or Halfie)," here.

Just the fact that an entry on men's shorts at The Sartorialist garnered 198 comments here.

Just enjoyed...the post "Filial Piety" at Chasing the Red Balloon here.

Just jaw at what I believe is perhaps A.D.'s longest post in recent history here, a post which was inspired by Jean's intriguing post here.

Just finished...reading Coraline (here) which is technically a short novel for children, but which is so freaking creepy I cannot imagine reading it to my kids for another 5 years.

Just coveting...this little print here for my new reading corner. A true steal at $13!

Just Vida (here), who is at this very moment explaining the concept of word families to Lea: "All these words like 'sat,' 'mat,' 'hat,' 'cat,' are called 'word families' because they all end with 'at' and they also all rhyme. Do you see that?"

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Excerpt(s) from the Family Forum

I must share these gems from a recent thread on our family forum. They feature my cousin Luj (perhaps you will remember him as the one who wrote a song for me entitled, "You're Forty and I'm Not"); my father who is, as has been noted several times here on Nesting Ground, a free-roaming lunatic; and two quips from one uncle and one of my brothers. The title of the thread is simply...


Luj: So I just got back from Oxnard—spent a few days of vacation there—and my Mom made me Daing (dried fish) a couple of mornings for breakfast. I love it. I truly love it. It's super gnarly, but I love it. Anyway, she sent me home with several frozen bags of it.

So I got home last night, woke up this morning, and decided to pull out some of my camping gear so I can cook it in the far corner of my backyard where no one can witness the aroma.

Well, less than an hour ago, there I was cooking away and I swear, a swarm of flies and yellowjackets like I've never seen started hovering around me. Also, I went back into my house and although I'm cooking it about 30 yards from my back door, I can smell it from the front of the house when I went to check my mail! I finished cooking it and brought it in, but now my house smells like it!

I have unleashed something I don't know that I can properly do battle with! Anyway, I guess I better eat it now (my rice is ready).

I actually went on the internet looking for any information on Daing and I found something that started with an amusing story...check it out...

Being filipino is not easy.

* * *

Luj: Just a follow up post...

I finished my meal and realize I did a couple of DUMB things

1. I ate while at my computer. Now my keyboard and mouse smell like fish. I also had an instance when I kind of broke off a piece of the fish and it sort of went all over the place. Now there are hidden pieces of daing hiding somewhere. This is going to be a challenge to fix. I may have to buy a new keyboard and mouse.

2. I probably should've worn something I wasn't interested wearing for the rest of the day. I also probably should've waited to shower. I have to shower and change now.

3. I washed the daing pan with other dishes. Now the other dishes smell like fish. Shoot. Mind you, I used a pan I normally only use for camping, so that's going back out in the garage with my camping gear. However, there were a couple of plates and tupperware that I washed with the tainted pan, and now they reek. I don't know what to do. My Mom told me yesterday that when I cooked this stuff, I should probably clean it all with lemon. That is probably what I'm going to have to do.

4. Just an observation, but my paper cup full of Peet's coffee smells like Daing. Ah screw it, my whole world smell like Daing right now. My usually unfriendly cat has all of a sudden taken a liking to me. Sigh.

Thursday, July 26, 2007. Day of the Daing. The Invasion Has Begun.

* * *

[In the following, please note Dad's "logic" in paragraph 2]

My Dad: You have tasted the food of the Pilipino Gods! Your Mom served that at your B'day party and it was the single convincing reason that I drove that far! She promised Tina would catch the fish and that she would BBQ it. The dried and smoked kind elevates the stuff to incredible levels.

I eat mine with finely chopped/diced tomatoes, onions, cucumber, and cilantro seasoned lightly with patis (salt is bad for my blood pressure). I do three super large eggs over easy, two cups of rice, and I am in heaven!

There are many other fishes available at Ranch 99 or Seafood City. Some are from China and some from Vietnam or Thailand. I try them all and found my favorite to be Shisamo.

Shisamo is from Japan and some sushi bars serve it. It is a tiny fish (about 4 inches) served charcoal grilled and each tiny fish is filled with roe! That's right! Fish eggs. Pudjo and I once ate $50 worth at a sushi bar! Buying it at Ranch 99 is cheaper. $1.99 for 5 pcs in a package but buy a minimum of 2 packages or you'll be sorry.

Charcoal or gas grilling is the only way to cook this stuff. It seems the smoke covers the aroma and carries it away. I will grill about a dozen pieces at a time, wrap it in tin foil and store in the fridge. I then heat up what I want in the toaster oven (wrapped in tin foil- on LOW) and I end up with minimal aroma. Frying definitely produces the most aroma and sometimes I do that just to drive Soosi crazy (last time she called a cab and went to a movie)!.

Good eating!

* * *

Luj: I think that's going to be my morning project for tomorrow. I have to clean out my garage, so while I'm doing that, I can bbq the daing. I have a bunch of it, so I might as well. I also have lots of tomatoes, so I can make that as well. Uncle Norman, I hope you're right about the smell being lessened when you bbq! I wanted to ask my parents about it in more detail, but they friggin' went to Vegas.

* * *

CookieDuster: I thought I smelled fish the other day!

* * *

My Dad: Y'know those seasoning packets that make instant adobo, sinigang, etc.? You know, the ones you dissolve in a cup of water and add your fish and stuff and "Voila!" sinigang!

I was thinking (uh, oh) what if I made gravy instead of soup? Like use a lot less water, maybe some wine, some corn starch to thicken it and butter to make it richer and then use it as a gravy? Would that work you think? Have you tried it?

Oh heck, I'll just go ahead and try it! Hey Soosi, I need a saucepan! Speaking of what works, did that bbq thing work for your dried fish, Luj?

* * *

My Brother: Dad...butter in the sinigang mix? Danger Will Robinson, Danger.

* * *

Believe it or not, this thread goes on. In fact, it will probably go on for several more days. All of which makes me really is time for a family reunion.