Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Will the Shame NEVER DIE?

A few years ago I wrote a post about how a friend and I set up a Filipino table for International Day at my kids' school. We thought we were fairly bombastic until. Until. Until the Tongan families arrived sporting traditional dress and carrying a ROAST PIG THE SIZE OF MY HOUSE. Do you remember how I cursed the gods that day? Do you also remember how the event happened to coincide with an Achiote Press reading and that Oscar had no sympathy for my plight, but rather laughed at my comeuppance?

Fast forward to 2009. This was to be my Year Of Redemption. This was to be the year I could hold my head up high and pass by the Tongans while tossing out a casual, "Hey, nice table you got there."

But it is not meant to be.

Why? Because apparently there are a bunch of upstart Filipino parents in the Kindergarten class who are building a bahay kubo (it sounds like I'm joking, doesn't it? I assure you I am not) and who do not require the help—in any way, shape, or form—of your Nesting Ground Mistress.

Sure. Fine. That's fine. I'll just go ahead and create a table representing the Land of Nesting Ground. I will serve chunks of bitter melon, clusters of sour grapes, and glasses of fine whine. My national flag will bear the words, "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave." I'll see you there!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spam Folder Sex Poem

My Spam folder held six messages this morning. When I took a peek prior to emptying it, the subject lines revealed the following poem:

Have sex longer
better sex
please her like never before
be amazing in bed
be a god in bed
please her like never before

I thought the repeating middle and end lines of "please her like never before" were especially effective, as were the "be a..." that begin lines 4 and 5. I was going to wait a little longer to see if any more messages appeared, but it looks like this will be it for the day. Has this phenomenon ever occurred in YOUR mailbox? If so, you are required to share. Go! Go check your Spam!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Suddenly I See-ee

Though I knew it was in excess of ten years, I wasn't sure exactly how long I'd been wearing the same pair of contact lenses. Last week I visited the eye doctor for the first time in six years, and he told me: twelve years.

There is no good reason for this. I think the issue was...me. Just last week the spousal unit—in regards to some random half-zip fleece thing I'd worn to the gym—said, "I gotta say, Vernie. No one holds on to a sweatshirt like you." And I guess that's true. Despite excessive spending in some areas like books, shoes (occasionally), self-preservation (this would include haircuts and, I don't know, private pilates sessions?), babysitting ($20/hr. = ouch!), restaurants (occasionally) and more books, I am by nature someone who doesn't think she needs more than one random half-zip fleece thing. Call me crazy.

Nor did I need new contact lenses if the ones I had were perfectly fine. This didn't stop the Eye Guy from reaming me out for thirty minutes, though. See (ha! get it?!) here, Eye Guy, I wanted to say, if I felt like listening to someone berate me for my human failings, I'd go to church, thank you. But I didn't. I agreed that I was an awful, ridiculous person and that there is no one in the world except me who would do such a brainless, lame, potentially dangerous thing. Then he checked out my eyes and I almost laughed out loud when he announced that by some miracle of the Eye Gods, I had no cornea damage.

Then I waltzed out of there with a new pair of disposable lenses and 20/20 vision. This is good. But it is also not-so-good because there are all sorts of things I was fortunate not to notice before. In other words, I've been vacuuming. A lot.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Daly City Semi-Love Song

I have Daly City on the brain.

REASON NUMBER 1. Every third grader has been assigned a city within San Mateo County and is required to turn in a written report, deliver an oral presentation, and develop some sort of visual enhancements. Vida was jumping out of her Converse when she was given Daly City. There are few things more amusing than a 9-year-old pumping her fist and saying, "Yes! Yes!" Risa, on the other hand, stood perplexed when assigned the venture capitalist capital of the world: Woodside. "Where is this place?" she said, staring at her paper.

REASON NUMBER 2. It so happened that my dad had a craving for Sinugba the other day, thus giving Vida the opportunity for field research. The restaurant turned out to be closed, so ignoring all other input, I made a beeline for Westlake Shopping Center (making quick stops first at my high school and then our old house), home of Daly City's one branch of Nation's. As we drove down endless Southgate Ave., Dad gave Vida a little impromptu suburban architecture talk and pointed out that every third or fourth house was exactly the same. Meanwhile, I was shocked to realize that a lovely view of San Francisco Bay was spread across my sightline. Was that always there? I asked myself. Of course, you idiot, I answered. You just weren't looking.

REASON NUMBER 3. During this same time, I was (and still am) reading Sunny's Pinoy Capital: The Filipino Nation in Daly City. A third of the way through I had to e-mail him to scream about how frighteningly spot-on he is with his observations about the cultural landscape of Serramonte Mall, the breach of understanding between newly arrived Filipinos and the more established, and the fact that there is nowhere (such as parks) that encourages community gathering. The closest thing to a park has always been the Serramonte food court and, for a little while, Westlake Bowl. When I was eight or nine, I used to walk to the library, but I stopped going after I'd been flashed too many times by some perv in a grey trenchcoat. Oh Sunny, wailed your Nesting Ground Mistress in her e-mail, I was so psychologically boxed in by the omnipresent fog and the orderly lines of houses! Is it any wonder I never noticed the Bay?

*pause for dramatic effect*

Thank God Sunny didn't take the easy opportunity to make fun of me (at least not TO me). I also want to note that his take on the story behind first Filipino Mayor Mike Guingona's rise to the pinnacle of Daly City politics is a must-read.

REASON NUMBER 4. While all this was happening my eldest brother, who has lived on the North Shore of Oahu for twenty years and whose online presence has been hitherto slim, made his splashy debut on Facebook. This simple act contributed significantly to the Daly City pile-on because it inspired a flurry of Fairlawn Ct. remembrances from our cousins. Most of these memories revolved around skateboards, a truly horrible game called "Butts Up," and a guy named Fish who once held my little life in his hands as we careened down a large hill on his skateboard with no thought given to cross-traffic or other pertinent dangers.

REASON NUMBER 5. Add to this two questions, one posed by Barbara Jane and one by a white neighbor who grew up in San Bruno, and you have all the ingredients necessary for a lengthy trip down memory lane. Guess who asked which question:

1) "You're D.C., right?"
2) "What is your relationship to your city?"

If you didn't guess correctly, you're funny.

I left Daly City for good when I was seventeen years old, and I have had many homes since then: San Francisco, Vancouver (Canada), Washington, D.C., Virginia, Santa Barbara, and now San Mateo. But none have the visceral pull of the long empty streets of my foggy, Filipino-filled hometown. I'd post a picture for you, but would you believe it? I don't have one.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Post in Which I Whine

I'm sick and do not want to go anywhere. But I am going here:

1) the shower
2) jiffy lube
3) sport mart
4) michael's
5) trader joe's

It's such a short list, but it overwhelms. The only place I should be going is:

1) bed
2) school to pick up kids
3) bed

Due to the combination of climbing hills (tues), pilates (wed), and illness, the following body parts hurt:

1) head
2) nose
3) throat
4) thighs
5) ass
6) anterior tibs
7) eyes
8) triceps

The sounds I currently hear are:

1) screaming birds
2) twittering birds
3) fridge buzz
4) fingers typing
5) pounding in head
6) sniffling

Place I am going tomorrow is:

1) the snow

Current temperature at destination is:

1) 20 degrees

The reasons I am writing in lists are:

1) inability to think in complete sentences at the moment
2) laziness
3) vague amusement factor

Things I will not do today:

1) cook
2) dance
3) jump
4) smile (apparently)