Wednesday, February 28, 2007

For M.

My friend's husband ended his own life earlier this month. It would be simple for someone to lose themselves in the 'why' of that statement, but I don't want to. And not only because it's a question that can't ever be answered, but because there are things so much more important—right now, in this moment—to wonder about. I wonder, for example, how my friend managed to stand up in front of a packed church today and convince every one of us that she and her three young children are blessed. I wonder where strength comes from when it doesn't seem possible that there's any more in reserve. I wonder where that strength will take her in the days and months ahead. But mostly I am sitting here full of wonder. At my extraordinary friend.

Monday, February 26, 2007

So Genius

Who's the genius who left the house this morning without an umbrella? I'm the genius!

Who's the genius who can't find Risa's Brownie vest and who must take the fall for her not wearing said vest during today's Super Secret Brownie Initiation Ceremony at which many Super Secret Brownie Songs are trilled and Super Secret Brownie Pledges are proclaimed? I'm the genius!

Who's the genius who took Lea to L & L Hawaiian Barbecue for lunch and only ordered her a "Mini Short Ribs" lunch when, in fact, she could have eaten several Humungous Short Rib lunches? I'm the genius!

Who's the genius who waited ten minutes in the ATM drive-through line and, when her turn arrived, came to realize that she had failed to prepare her deposit (opting instead to sing along to the radio) and could not handle the pressure of preparing it on the spot because there was another car behind her, and so had to circle around again? I'm the genius!

Who's the genius who had Lea's birthday party invitations printed at a completely inconvenient printing place and then failed to notice that there were no envelopes in the package, prompting a return to the completely inconvenient printing place, where the decidedly unhelpful printing employee informed me that there were no envelopes left, to which I enthusiastically responded with clenched teeth but of course there are envelopes somewhere in this cavernous and completely inconvenient printing place? I'm the genius!

Several more Monday instances of my genius could be cited here. In fact, I find myself astonished at the immense width and breadth of my genius. My genius is its own nation.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hoy, Hoy, Pilipino Boy!

Tony Robles looks so calm, doesn't he? He's just reading Lakas & The Manilatown Fish, making his fancy-pants hand motions, doing his Storyteller Day thing at R & V's school:

But I think it was all a ruse. Because, really, how could anyone remain calm in the face of this terrifying crowd?:

Can you imagine how loud it was when Tony coerced them all to chant, "Hoy, hoy, Pilipino boy!" at various moments during the story? Can you imagine me, running around the room using his giant orange fish puppet to plant loud, smacky kisses on the heads of the students? Can you imagine the momentary, "Wha?" when Lakas' father makes hot dogs and rice for breakfast? ("It's a Filipino thing," I wanted to shout.)

Anyways, I'm happy to report that Tony had an impressive tower of books to sign. Here he is with Vida, who looks quite like the proverbial cat who ate the canary:

And I'm also happy to be able to ease back into blog life with this cheery post. [insert super corny smiley face emoticon]

Saturday, February 17, 2007


There is a terrible sadness in our neighborhood right now, and much to be done to support each other.

I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What, Exactly, Do you Meme?

A meme without questions? Isn't that sort of like Billy Idols' "Eyes Without a Face?" Whatever the case, the wily Wily Filipino has tagged me and I must..."Imagine the question that led to the answer, and then provide your own answer."

So here goes:

1. Reading aloud in third grade, I mispronounced the word "colonel," and was rewarded with much tittering and giggles. The ghost of mortification lingers so intensely that I still cannot bring myself to research what sort of inane pronunciation rule holds sway over that particular word.

2. I re-submit for everyone's approval: Britney Spears covering Pat Benatar's seminal "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."

3. Lea in the hallway singing, "To the left, to the left, everything you own in a box to the left." Twenty times.

4. Whimsy
5. Nope. Never.

6. Hot malasadas.

7. "I wanted to see you walking backwards to get the sensation of you coming home."

8. Oh, come on. Spam fried rice, of course.

9. Toss up between Port-a-Potty and the Easy Bake Oven.

10. I hadn't gone to the doctor yet, but I knew I was because random kids were reaching out of their strollers to grab my hand.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Live From the Grammy's!

Okay, not really.

I just have one question.

Corinne Bailey Rae and John Legend and John Mayer just performed together. Ms. Rae was resplendent in all her resplendent-ness. John Legend was Mr. Fabulous Dashing Singing Man. Both so effortless and fantastic. And then John Mayer had to go muss the aesthetic up by contorting himself in such a way that he appeared to be passing a kidney stone. Way to splash cold water on the whole thing, Johnny.

I guess that wasn't really a question.

Back to my post title. I may not be live at the Grammy's, but someone in the Nesting Ground household is live at the Grammy's. And his name rhymes with crousal tunit.

I am not jealous. I am not jealous. I am not jealous.

I am so jealous.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

I am freshly home from enjoying the visual feast known as Pan's Labyrinth. It was full of heartbreak and magic and it made me simultaneously weepy, nauseous, and incensed (fascism=bad). Plus, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat grapes again. Why? Because if you eat the grapes that are laid out on this guy's table, he inserts eyeballs into his hands and gets super pissed:

Sweet dreams, all. Muwahahahahahahahahaha...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Nesting Ground Birdy of the Week

I recently received a most welcome e-mail from one Jordan Gonzales who teaches in the Ethnic Studies Department at UC Berkeley and who, now that I'm thinking on it, was the super-amiable man with the excellent belt buckle (it was a word, but I can't remember which) who came to Eastwind Books for a reading that Marianne Villanueva and I had. Anyways, he wrote to tell me that he has included my story, "Bernie Aragon, Jr. Looks For Love," on the syllabus for an upper-division class he is teaching in the Spring.

Of course this earns Jordan the exalted "Nesting Ground Birdy of the Week" title. And, um, he's also the reason the title was invented in the first place. Thank you, Jordan, if you're out there.

* * *

In other writing news...I keep forgetting to mention that I have a story in this new anthology. Lots of familiar names, including those of requited blog buddy Ian and unrequited blog buddy Dean Alfar. I believe there's a launching next week in Manila. Fun! I bet the food will be so good:

Thanks to the indefatigable and lovely Cecilia Brainard for again including my work in one of her projects.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Try As We Might, It's Impossible to Exhaust This Topic

Last week the girls and I were enjoying lunch with my parents at Tribu Grill, the newish Filipino restaurant on the border of Millbrae and San Bruno (check out Corinne's review—complete with pictures!—here), when we were accosted by two people at two different times demanding to know if my daughters were Filipino and why they were not signed up for the Little Miss Something Something pageant at the Something Something Fiesta. Sayang, sayang, they clucked. They're so preeeety.

Oh, sweet irony.

And there was my poor mother being all gracious and whatnot while I scowled and tried to keep from screaming something like, "Do you not read my blog?! Do you not know that beauty pageants are a Nesting Ground pet peeve and that you should not pester the Nesting Ground Mistress with such nonsense, especially when the Nesting Ground Mistress is partaking in some really good deep-friend bangus? What is wrong with you?! Beg mercy from the Nesting Ground Mistress! Beg mercy and away with you, away!"

But instead I said, "They're too busy reading to participate in a beauty pageant." And then I proffered up a pained and insincere smile. Unable to form a suitable response, the female accoster mumbled something I didn't understand and walked away. I'm not sure why, but I actually felt sort of sorry for the second misguided person—a man this time— who showed up about ten minutes later. Maybe because he was fairly old and had tattooed eyebrows and eyeliner. Make of this what you will. With him, I performed the same smile and just said, "Oh, that's nice of you to say. Thank you."

As I'm sure you recall (*sarcasm*) from this post, though, I do wax nostalgic about objectification of the sepia-toned sort. So I suppose it's fitting that I was looking for something this morning and, instead, found my maternal lola's official "Rizal Queen" candidate photo, circa 1930:

Also fitting that it was this time last year that Gladys and Joanne were just about to unleash the Beauty & Power conference...